Australian Open: Djokovic, Serena, Osaka, Advance As Fans Sent Home

February 12, 2021
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Defending champion Novak Djokovic is unsure if he will be able to play in the fourth round of the Australian Open after he survived an injury scare to battle past American Taylor Fritz.

World number one Djokovic was hampered by a side injury that restricted his movement, although he still recorded a 7-6 (7-1) 6-4 3-6 4-6 6-2) victory.

A departing Nick Kyrgios thrilled the crowd one last time as the Australian Open kicked out fans late on Friday before a state-wide snap coronavirus lockdown goes into force.

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Thousands of fans, mostly unmasked, watched the flamboyant Australian flame out over five sets against US Open champion Dominic Thiem, who clawed his way back from two sets down.

In female events, Serena Williams overcame a sluggish start to beat Anastasia Potapova and reach the Australian Open fourth round.

Tenth seed Williams, bidding for a record-equalling 24th Grand Slam title, came through 7-6 (7-5) 6-2 against the 101st-ranked Russian.

However, the American had trailed 5-3 in an error-strewn first set, and she had to save two set points before dialling back in to win.

Naomi Osaka also advanced after a cagey match against Ons Jabeur of Tunisia.

Third seed Osaka and her opponent struggled for rhythm but it was the Japanese who prevailed 6-3 6-2.

Osaka will face two-time Grand Slam champion Garbine Muguruza next, while Williams plays seventh seed Aryna Sabalenka for a place in the quarter-finals.

She will face a tough test against big-hitting Belarusian Sabalenka, who beat American Ann Li 6-3 6-1.

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