Australian Open 2018: Talking points (Day Five)

There was plenty to discuss after yesterday’s action in Melbourne. Money and the weather continued to make the headlines, as did some excellent performances. Here are five talking points from an exhilarating fifth day in Australia.

It’s hot, hot, hot! 

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Alize Cornet struggled to cope with the heat. (Image Credit: http://www.sportingnews.com/au/tennis/news/australian-open-alize-cornet-elise-mertens-heat-break-down/1xuxhqtjbnpfc1izpfp3hnsv8i)

“The extreme hot policy should be re-evaluated!” That’s according to the likes of French player Alize Cornet and top seed in the men’s draw- Rafael Nadal.

Temperatures in Australia have risen to as high as 40 degrees over the last couple of days, and the humidity has taken its toll on some of the players.

Cornet collapsed to the ground during her third round defeat to Elise Mertens due to the heat and Petra Martic, who took two hours to get past Luksika Kumkhum, suffered from blisters because of the sizzling court.

Play was suspended in 2014 due to the rising temperatures on court that year, however the officials have taken a much firmer approach this time around.

Tournament director Craig Tiley insists the rules cannot be altered halfway through the tournament, but admitted that policy will be looked at again once the Australian Open has wrapped up.

Show me the money!

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Roger Federer has had his say on the current issue of player earnings at Grand Slams. (Image Credit: SKY SPORTS via. http://www.skysports.com/tennis/news/31870/11212250/roger-federer-makes-third-round-of-australian-open-but-stan-wawrinka-is-knocked-out)

Roger Federer is the latest person to speculate about the ongoing situation over player’s earnings at Grand Slams.

The issue came into the spotlight just as this tournament was beginning after it was reported that Novak Djokovic suggested that the players form their own union separate from the ATP.

The Swiss, who is the former President of the ATP player council, believes that “change only comes when the players demand it and that the Grand Slams only react when people rally together.”

Federer did go on to say that change doesn’t happen in a day, and that both the players and the slams should collaborate together to reach the best possible agreement.

Edmund’s fairytale run continues 

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Kyle Edmund is through to the fourth round in Melbourne for the first time. (Image Credit: GETTY IMAGES via. https://www.express.co.uk/sport/tennis/906834/Australian-Open-2018-Kyle-Edmund-Nikoloz-Basilashvili-third-round)

Onto the action itself, and British hopes are still alive after Edmund came from behind to beat Georgian Nikoloz Basilashvili.

The 23-year-old won 7-6 3-6 4-6 6-0 7-5 to advance to the fourth round in Australia for the very first time.

The gruelling three hour and 34 minute swung one way and then the other before Edmund firmly took control in the fourth set.

The world number 49 finished with 70 winners but missed 20 of 27 break points. The conditions made it tough and Edmund admitted after the game that physically it was tough to play at his very best.

But it was another test passed for the Brit, who has been on an upward trajectory since making it to the last 16 in the US Open two years ago.

He will face Italian Andreas Seppi in round four.

Only two previous Grand Slam winners remain in women’s draw. 

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Ostapenko is the next big name heading for the exit door. (Image Credit: ROBERTO DELL’OLIVO via. http://www.ubitennis.net/2018/01/jelena-ostapenko-struggles-australian-open-third-round/)

Latvian Jelena Ostapenko suffered a shock defeat in the third round as another current Grand Slam holder bowed out.

Following Garbine Murguruza’s exit yesterday, world number seven Ostapenko fell to Estonia’s Anett Kontaveit 6-3 1-6 6-3.

The French Open champion was on the back foot from the off, as Kontaveit broke in the very first game.

The Latvian powered through the second set, before the world number 33 went on again to break in the final set and wrap up a win that puts her in the fourth round in Melbourne for the very first time.

Maria Sharapova and Angelique Kerber are now the only two women left in the draw that have previously ever won a Grand Slam. They both face other this weekend.

Nadal looks right at home down under. 

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Unstoppable Rafa. (Image Credit: USATSI via. https://www.cbssports.com/tennis/news/2018-australian-open-results-rafael-nadal-rolls-into-quarterfinals-ostapenko-out/)

World number one Rafael Nadal cruised into the fourth round and is looking the most likely to challenge Federer for the men’s title.

The Spaniard beat Damir Dzumhur 6-1 6-3 6-1, and is yet to drop a set at this year’s Australian Open.

Nadal has only won down under once before, but he is playing with a ruthless nature and is looking increasingly difficult to beat.

Bosnia’s Dzumhur hardly made a dent in Nadal’s push for glory, with the world number one going on to face Diego Schwartzman – a man he has defeated three times previously – in round four.

 

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