Nick Kyrgios has squandered a two set lead to crash out of the Australian Open with a 6-4, 6-4, 3-6, 4-6, 4-6 defeat to world No.3 Dominic Thiem as fans exited the championship late yesterday before a state-wide snap coronavirus lockdown goes into force.
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.
Public announcements warned fans to be home by midnight, when six million people across Victoria state go into a five-day lockdown to curb an outbreak of the highly contagious UK strain.
In the evening’s final match, defending champion Novak Djokovic was leading America’s Taylor Fritz by two sets to one when play was suspended at 11:30 pm (1230 GMT) to allow fans to leave Rod Laver Arena.
The Australian Open, which has encountered severe coronavirus problems and started three weeks late, was the first tennis Grand Slam to welcome fans in large numbers since the pandemic.
But it will continue behind closed doors and with players in a biosecure “bubble” during the five-day lockdown, after the cluster of 13 cases centred on an airport hotel.
Meanwhile, Serena Williams will be part of this weekend action after overcame erratic strokes and two set points to beat Anastasia Potapova 7-6 (5), 6-2 yesterday and advance to the fourth round.
In other women’s third-round play, Naomi Osaka is back in the fourth round of the Australian Open for the first time since her title run in 2019.
Osaka overcame 28 unforced errors and saved six of seven break points she faced in a 6-3, 6-2 win over 27th-seeded Ons Jabeur of Tunisia on Friday.
“I was really nervous and scared because I didn’t know if she was going to hit a drop shot on any ball,” Osaka said of playing Jabeur for the first time.