MELBOURNE (Reuters) - Highlights of the sixth day of the Australian Open at Melbourne Park on Saturday, all times local (GMT +11):
0042 RECORD ATTENDANCE
Saturday was the biggest day in Australian Open attendance history with day attendance of 60,457, record night attendance of 34,397 (beating 2012’s 28,377) and a record combined day/night attendance of 94,854 -- beating 2020’s 93,709.
Djokovic soldiers on to set up De Minaur showdown
Swiatek stays grounded ahead of Rybakina test in clash of champions
Marathon man Murray runs out of steam against Bautista Agut
Shelton gets better of Popyrin and ‘rowdy’ Aussie crowd to roar into last-16
Serene Sabalenka sets up battle of Adelaide champions
Rune ready for Rublev after shrugging off nasty fall
Rublev rolls on, Pliskova through to last 16
Czech teen Fruhvirtova downs Vondrousova to reach fourth round
Nick who? De Minaur steps out of Kyrgios shadow
Order of play on Sunday
2247 MURRAY RUN ENDS WITH DEFEAT BY BAUTISTA AGUT
Former world number one Andy Murray’s incredible run in Melbourne ended in the third round as the 35-year-old lost 6-1 6-7(7) 6-3 6-4 to Spain’s Roberto Bautista Agut.
Three-times major winner Murray came into the match on the back of marathon contests in the first two rounds where he knocked out 13th seed Matteo Berrettini and local hope Thanasi Kokkinakis.
“Always playing Andy is very tough,” said Bautista Agut, who will next face Tommy Paul.
“He knows very well how to play a Grand Slam match. I am happy with how I handled the nerves and tension through the match, to play good tennis.”
2223 DJOKOVIC DOWNS DIMITROV
Nine-times champion Novak Djokovic, back in Melbourne after last year’s deportation drama, progressed to the last-16 after a 7-6(7) 6-3 6-4 win over 27th seed Grigor Dimitrov.
The Serbian, who is into the fourth round for the 15th time, will next play Australia’s Alex de Minaur.
“I thought double-break in the third set was going to be enough for me, but he (Dimitrov) was locked in from that moment and up to the very last shot I did not know if I was going to prevail,” Djokovic said in his on-court interview.
“It was an incredible battle, three sets over three hours.”
2119 GARCIA SEALS COMEBACK WIN, SHELTON PROGRESSES
Fourth seed Caroline Garcia, who won the WTA Finals last season, overcame a shaky start to beat Germany’s Laura Siegemund 1-6 6-3 6-3 and reach the fourth round.
American Ben Shelton, 20, reached the last 16 of a Grand Slam for the first time in his career after beating wildcard Alexei Popyrin of Australia 6-3 7-6(4) 6-4.
1800 PAUL, WOLF ADVANCE IN ALL-AMERICAN CLASHES
Tommy Paul moved into the second week with a 6-1 6-4 6-3 victory over Jenson Brooksby to set up a fourth-round match with Bautista Agut.
At the Kia Arena, JJ Wolf beat lucky loser Michael Mmoh 6-4 6-1 6-2 to move into the fourth round of a Grand Slam for the first time.
1703 DE MINAUR KEEPS AUSTRALIAN FLAG FLYING HIGH
De Minaur beat Benjamin Bonzi 7-6(0) 6-2 6-1 to book his place in the fourth round, where he will play Djokovic.
“I hope everyone that was on this court right now is going to go and support Alexei Popyrin,” De Minaur said.
“That’s all we do. Us Aussies, we stick together. We’ve got a bright future ahead and let’s get ‘Popeye’ to the line today.”
1700 MORE PRESSURE ON RUNE, SAYS RUBLEV
Fifth seed Rublev has turned up the pressure on teenager Holger Rune ahead of their last 16 encounter, saying the teenager is no longer an underdog after his breakout year in 2022 when he cracked the top 10.
“I have nothing to lose against him next time, because he was the one who won our first match (at last year’s Paris Masters). So he will feel a bit of pressure that he would like to win again,” Rublev said.
1620 SABALENKA DISPATCHES MERTENS
Aryna Sabalenka prevented her former doubles partner Elise Mertens from reaching the last 16 for a fourth consecutive year with a dominant 6-2 6-3 win over the Belgian.
Sabalenka, who won the Adelaide International 1 earlier this month and has not dropped a set in 2023, next faces Belinda Bencic.
1600 DENMARK’S RUNE MOVES ON
Ninth seed Holger Rune beat Frenchman Ugo Humbert 6-4 6-2 7-6(5) to move into the last 16 for the first time in Melbourne, where he will face fifth seed Andrey Rublev.
The Danish teenager was trailing in the third set tiebreak after a double fault but clawed his way back to seal progress.
1446 FLAWLESS RUBLEV ADVANCES IN STRAIGHT SETS
Rublev came through a tricky encounter against Dan Evans to win 6-4 6-2 6-3 on Margaret Court Arena after firing 60 winners past the Briton.
Rublev, who did not drop serve, improved as the match wore on and even got a helping hand from Evans, with the Briton giving him a banana during a changeover.
“He helped me with some energy for sure,” Rublev said with a smile.
1430 BENCIC INTO LAST-16
Swiss 12th seed Belinda Bencic eased into the last-16 for the first time since 2016 after a 6-2 7-5 win over Camila Giorgi.
Italian Giorgi broke Bencic to level the second set at 5-5 before the Olympic champion broke back and served out the match.
“I’m happy I got a second chance to serve it out but overall I think it was a great match,” Bencic said.
1230 PLISKOVA PROGRESSES AFTER DOWNING GRACHEVA
Former world number one Karolina Pliskova brushed aside Russia’s Varvara Gracheva 6-4 6-2 to advance to the fourth round.
“It’s the third round of a slam so there’s never an easy match, no matter who is the opponent, no matter the ranking,” said 30th seed Pliskova.
1113 PLAY UNDERWAY AT MELBOURNE PARK
Third-round action began as scheduled on the sixth day of the year’s first Grand Slam.
The weather forecast looks good, with a high of 24 degrees Celsius (75.2 degrees Fahrenheit).
Reporting by Michael Church in Hong Kong, Rohith Nair and Manasi Pathak in Bengaluru; Editing by Peter Rutherford and Ken Ferris
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