ROD LAVER Arena fell silent on Saturday afternoon with players, officials and spectators observing a minute’s silence as a mark of respect for those who were killed in Melbourne’s CBD on Friday.
“You were innocent. You won’t be forgotten” was projected across the screens at Melbourne Park’s showpiece arena.
“Ladies and gentlemen, as a mark of respect for those who have lost their lives following the recent tragic events in the city of Melbourne, we would ask you to join the players and officials here on Rod Laver Arena to observe a moment’s silence,” announcer Craig Willis said.
Rafael Nadal and Alexander Zverev, who were about to play their third-round singles match, stood silent in tribute.
— Tom Loomes (@thomasloomes) January 21, 2017
Here’s a run down of some of the notable moments at Melbourne Park on day six of the 2017 Australian Open.
Mansour Bahrami up to his old tricks
Retired Iranian/French player Mansour Bahrami is known for his playful on-court manner and joyful approach to the game of tennis.
And at the age of 60, he hasn’t lost any of his cheeky charm.
Bahrami played in a Legends’ doubles match with Fabrice Santoro against opponents John and Patrick McEnroe and delighted the crowd with some hilarious stunts.
Watch them below.
— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 21, 2017
— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 21, 2017
The unseeded unseats the seed
Elena Vesnina, the 14th seed, was eliminated from the Australian Open by unseeded American qualifier Jennifer Brady.
Brady, the world No.116, was the first woman to reach the round of 16 on Saturday with a 7-6 (7-4) 6-2 win in just 85 minutes.
The powerful 22-year-old hit 10 aces in the third-round defeat as Vesnina imploded with 39 unforced errors on show court two.
Brady has now won more matches than anyone else at Melbourne Park, having won through to the main draw with three qualifying wins.
This is her grand slam singles main draw debut.
Roger Federer’s Friday night match against Czech player Tomas Berdych was over in an hour-and-a-half, with Federer delivering a performance that had everyone, including Berdych, in awe.
“It’s not so much fun. I would rather be sitting in the stands watching than on the court,” Berdych said after the match.
“This was an absolute lesson … how to be absolutely aggressive on the court. I was put on my back foot with every single shot … when I make my points in the game it was not by me.”
Some faces in the crowd were also impressed, particularly after an especially smooth backhand from the Swiss master.
— Sumeet Ranjan Rout (@rout_sumeet97) January 20, 2017
Retired player and Berdych’s coach Goran Ivanisevic and current player Radek Stepanek were both in Berdych’s players’ box and even they couldn’t suppress their shock and awe.
— Piero Emmolo (@pierfed) January 21, 2017
What’s happening on Sunday
Kei Nishikori (JPN) v Roger Federer (SUI)
In the wake of his dismissal of Tomas Berdych on Friday night, Federer referred to Nishikori as “a good kid” but the fifth seed is plenty more than that. Not only does he outrank Federer by 12 positions, his all-action running game could trouble Federer in the way Berdych didn’t. The Swiss champion was imperious against the Czech but could find the going tougher against Japan’s No.1.
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga v Dan Evans (GBR)
Evans, conqueror of Marin Cilic and Bernard Tomic, will gun for a third seed in four rounds against mercurial Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga. There’s been no luck attached to Evans’ giant-killing run as the Brit has played well above his world ranking of 51. If Tsonga will prevail, he’ll like his chances against likely quarter-final opponent Stan Wawrinka.
Angelique Kerber (GER) v Coco Vandeweghe (USA)
Like Federer, Kerber kicked her Austalian Open up a notch in the third round. The German needed three sets in her opening matches but dispatched Kristyna Pliskova mercilessly 6-0 6-4 on Friday. Big-swinging Vandeweghe will challenge the world No.1. The American already has wins against 15th seed Roberta Vinci and Eugenie Bouchard under her belt and is playing confident tennis.
Stan Wawrinka (SWI) v Andreas Seppi (ITA)
In the wake of Nick Kyrgios’ unforgettable implosion, Seppi has ghosted through the draw to repeat the best grand slam result of his 14-year career. In 47 past majors, he’s never reached the quarter-finals. Could it happen against the Stanimal? The 2014 champion needed five sets to beat Martin Klizan in his first match and needed to come from behind to beat Viktor Troicki on Friday.
The New Daily will publish the Daily Deuce each day throughout the Australian Open.
– with AAP