MELBOURNE (Reuters) - Highlights of the fifth day at the Australian Open, the first Grand Slam tournament of the year, on Friday (times AEDT; GMT+11):
Chinese 27th seed Wang Qiang extended former world number one Serena Williams’ wait for a record-equaling 24th Grand Slam singles title, producing a superb performance to seal a 6-4 6-7(2) 7-5 win over the American and move into the fourth round.
World number one Ash Barty had kind words for Ons Jabeur shortly before the Tunisian became the first Arab woman to make the round of 16 at a Grand Slam with a three-sets victory over Caroline Wozniacki.
“I’ve played Ons before. Played doubles with her. She’s a great person as well. I enjoy giving her a little bit of stick every single day when I see her. She gives it back, which I love. It’s great banter,” Barty said.
“It’s really nice to see her starting to play big matches, get herself deeper in tournaments. She has the ability, she has the brain on the tennis court... (she is) someone who brings a smile on my face whenever I see her.”
1515 THREE-SETTER A FITTING END TO CAREER, SAYS WOZNIACKI
Caroline Wozniacki said that a tough match which went the distance was the appropriate way to end her career.
“It was only fitting that my last match would be a three- setter, a grinder and my career would finish with a forehand error. I guess it was meant to be,” Wozniacki said in a courtside interview.
“I really am happy. I’m excited for what’s to come. You might see me around off the court.”
Tunisia’s Ons Jabeur beat former world number one Caroline Wozniacki 7-5 3-6 7-5 in the third round to send the 2018 champion into retirement.
Wozniacki has said the Australian Open would be her final tournament as she looks forward to the next stage of her life with her husband of seven months, ex-NBA All Star David Lee.
Earlier, seventh seed Petra Kvitova blasted past Ekaterina Alexandrova 6-1 6-2 in 58 minutes.
Diego Schwartzman was in a humorous mood following his win over Dusan Lajovic, when asked in a courtside interview about his potential fourth-round meeting with Yoshihito Nishioka or world number two Novak Djokovic.
“I just know Nishioka, because he is my size,” Schwartzman said of the Japanese 24-year-old, who like him is also 5ft 7in. “The other guy I really don’t know.”
Argentina’s Diego Schwartzman staved off a late comeback attempt by Dusan Lajovic to beat the Serb 6-2 6-3 7-6(7) and reach the last 16 for the second time, matching his best performance at Melbourne Park.
World number one Ash Barty kept alive hopes of a local champion for the first time since 1978 with a 6-3 6-2 demolition of 29th-seed Elena Rybakina.
Barty needed just 78 minutes to beat the 20-year-old from Kazakhstan to advance to the fourth round.
Play started on time with most of the outside courts hosting first round doubles matches, while world number one Ash Barty opens the third round in the singles on Rod Laver Arena against Kazakhstan’s 29th-seed Elena Rybakina.
Women’s champion Naomi Osaka opens the evening session against American teenager Cori Gauff in arguably the singles clash of the day on the showcourts.
After rain caused delays for the outside courts early on Thursday the weather forecast was for a high of 24 Celsius (75.2 Fahrenheit) but with breezy conditions still to test players at Melbourne Park.
Compiled by Greg Stutchbury and Shrivathsa Sridhar; Editing by Sam Holmes and Muralikumar Anantharaman