Khachanov 3-6, 2-6, 4-1 Nadal* (*denotes next server)
So is the comeback on? Um, maybe. But the No 28 seed is having to work so hard for it. Nadal earns himself two break points on the Khachanov serve but the Russian brings it back to deuce once more. He saves another then finally gets over the line to establish a 4-1 lead.
Meanwhile over on Margaret Court Arena, Mannarino are doing anyone in the Melbourne crowd who has to get up early tomorrow no favours – they’re 2-2 in an attritional second set.
*Khachanov 3-6, 2-6, 3-1 Nadal (*denotes next server)
Hello all. On Rod Laver Nadal races into a 40-0 lead but the dogged Khachanov brings it back to deuce … then, stunningly, converts it into a break of serve.
Khachanov 3-6, 2-6, 2-1 *Nadal (*denotes next server)
Khachanov digs out another hold of serve. He’s not making many dents in Nadal’s armour but he is competing a little better.
Mannarino and Karatsev are now 1-1 in the second set. That one really does have the look of a marathon, 1.30am finish special … I’ll hand you over to John Ashdown for the next hour and will be back for more soon.
*Khachanov 3-6, 2-6, 1-1 Nadal (*denotes next server)
No worries for Nadal on his first service game of his third set. Physically and mentally the Mallorcan looks in ominous form. The absence of Novak Djokovic is obviously a significant factor in the men’s draw, but on this kind of form, Nadal would have taken some beating regardless.
Khachanov 3-6, 2-6, 1-0 *Nadal (*denotes next server)
The Russian – who, as you know, was born in Moscow but now resides in Dubai – holds at the start of the third. He’s being made to work for pretty much every point.
It’s just before 11pm in Melbourne and this one looks like it could go the distance … the Frenchman grabs the first-set tiebreak!
One particularly crushing angled forehand, on a fractionally short ball from his opponent, sends Nadal on the way to another comfortable hold of serve, which seals another comfortable set for the Spaniard. Can Khachanov come back from two sets down? It may be a two-horse race, and he still has a chance, but it’s looking highly, highly unlikely.
Khachanov 3-6, 2-5 *Nadal (* denotes next server)
Khachanov hammers down three aces in a row on his way to a love hold. He wasn’t taking any prisoners there. But Nadal will now serve for the second set, and looks to have one foot in the fourth round already.
*Khachanov 3-6, 1-5 Nadal (* denotes next server)
A looping backhand by Nadal drops in, with Khachanov running in the opposite direction, and Nadal edges closer to the second set.
Karatsev holds serve against Mannarino for 6-5 in the first.
Mannarino 5-5 *Karatsev (* denotes next server)
It’s shaping up to be a decent – and long – match on Margaret Court Arena, between the 18th-seeded Karatsev and the Frenchman Mannarino. Karatsev is ranked 15th in the world, while Mannarino is down in 69th.
Khachanov 3-6, 1-4 *Nadal (* denotes next server)
And quick as a flash, Nadal breaks again. He is streaking away with this second set having been tested in the fourth game.
Sorry, I initially posted it was 2-2 in Khachanov v Nadal, it is of course 3-1 Nadal after he held serve.
*Khachanov 3-6, 1-3 Nadal (* denotes next server)
After I said this match isn’t promising to explode into life, it immediately explodes into life. Khachanov produces the shot and the point of the match so far, threading a spectacular double-handed backhand around Nadal and down the line, and all that after having fallen over in hitting his initial return of serve … The Spaniard is taken to deuce and eventually edges over the line to hold. That was a massive contest though and if Khachanov can continue to exert than kind of pressure on Nadal’s serve, it could be a longer night than we thought.
Khachanov 3-6, 1-2 *Nadal (* denotes next server)
Khachanov holds, in much more straightforward fashion than the last time. Still, this isn’t a match which is promising to explode into life – Nadal is firmly in control of his opponent.
*Khachanov 3-6, 0-2 Nadal (* denotes next server)
Nadal holds and opens up a 2-0 lead in the second set.
Karatsev and Mannarino, the final match on today’s programme, are 2-2 in their first set.
Khachanov 3-6, 0-1 *Nadal (* denotes next server)
Nadal, finally, wears his Russian opponent down and breaks him after a marathon opening game in the second set. It looked like Khachanov might squeeze out the hold of serve but the quality of Nadal’s returning, and his trademark groundstrokes, was too much in the end.
“We Rafa fans were worried about Khachanov but if things continue like the first set it’s not looking good for him,” emails Margaret. “Hopefully Rafa’s foot, back, knees, wrist [did I forget a body part?] won’t cause him any problems. It would be great if he gets his second Oz title.”
Khachanov is currently being forced to work insanely hard just to hold at the start of the second set …
Amanda Anisimova is the story of the day after her remarkable three-set win against the defending champion, Naomi Osaka. Anisimova progresses to meet the world No 1 Ash Barty in the next round, so it’s not going to get any easier. But she may well possess the weapons to trouble Barty.
Rafa finally loses a point on his serve, but it hardly matters. He closes out the hold, and closes out the set, 6-3.
A recap of women’s singles results today:
1-Ashleigh Barty (AUS) beat 30-Camila Giorgi (ITA) 6-2 6-3
Amanda Anisimova (USA) beat 13-Naomi Osaka (JPN) 4-6 6-3 7-6
21-Jessica Pegula (USA) beat Nuria Parrizas Diaz (ESP) 7-6(3) 6-2
5-Maria Sakkari (GRE) beat 28-Veronika Kudermetova 6-4 6-1 (RUS)
4-Barbora Krejcikova (CZE) beat 26-Jelena Ostapenko (LAT) 2-6 6-4 6-4
24-Victoria Azarenka (BLR) beat 15-Elina Svitolina (UKR) 6-0 6-2
Madison Keys (USA) beat Qiang Wang (CHN) 4-6 6-3 7-6(2)
8-Paula Badosa (ESP) beat Marta Kostyuk (UKR) 6-2 5-7 6-4
Khachanov 2-4 Nadal* (* denotes next server)
The Spaniard is firmly in control, a break up in the first set, and will serve to move within one game of taking this first set. The Spaniard is yet to lose a point on his own serve.
The winner, Amanda Anisimova, has a chat on court: “I’m speechless, I absolutely love playing in Melbourne … honestly it’s so much fun … I mean, I can’t stop smiling even though I should be serious, I can’t help smiling, some of the stuff you guys say sometimes …
“Going into this match I knew I had to be playing sharp if I wanted to give myself a chance, Naomi is always going to be playing well … she’s an absolute champion … I knew I had to step up my game and be aggressive and I think that’s what I did in the second set. Honestly I’m so grateful that I was able to play so well today and get this win, it means a lot.
“Honestly, stepping on to the court, all I’m thinking about is having fun … every single day here is just an amazing experience and opportunity for me, I’m so grateful to be playing on this court … I’m just having fun and getting on the win on this day is a huge bonus, I’m just looking forward to my next round.”
What a match, what a display from both players. Brilliant. Osaka smiles and shakes Anisimova’s hand and clearly gives credit to her opponent for a stunning effort.
At 8-5, Anisimova puts a wide serve down, and wins the point with an astonishing volley controlled into the right of the court …
A lovely down-the-line back-handed forehand and Anisimova is now just three points away at 7-4 in the final set tiebreak. Can Osaka react again?
5-2 in the tiebreaker to Anisimova! Again she opens up the court with that big wide serve. Osaka needs a response and she finds one, crashing a backhand into the corner for 5-3.
At 3-2, Osaka butchers a second-serve return which flies long. Advantage Anisimova. If she can pull it off, this would be the biggest win of her career.
Anisimova, with some crushingly accurate hitting, moves 3-0 ahead in the tiebreak against Osaka!
Anisimova 4-6, 6-3, 6-6 *Osaka (*denotes next server)
Anisimova holds impressively easily, conceding just a single point, and we’ll have a first-to-10 tiebreak to settle it. This has been a truly memorable match.
Rafa Nadal is about to stride on to Rod Laver Arena for his match against Karen Khachanov.
*Anisimova 4-6, 6-3, 5-6 Osaka (*denotes next server)
Anisimova forces deuce on the Osaka serve … but the Japanese player again finds a way, and now leads 6-5 in the final set of this enthralling match. Helpfully, Eurosport have ended their TV coverage of this game in favour of skiing, so I’ve had to race over to the app to catch the end of it.
Nip and tuck in the service game for Anisimova, with the American producing her eighth ace of the match for 30-30 … and then grinding out a superb rally to save a first match point. She then hits wildly wide with a double-handed backhand to give Osaka a second match point. On second serve, Osaka cracks a backhand into the net and it’s back to deuce, and Osaka then nets a forehand return to give Anisimova the game point. Another punishing rally, however, ends with the American finding the net and it’s backk to deuce. Again the wide serve makes the difference for Anisimova, who fashions another game point, and makes it 5-5!
*Anisimova 4-6, 6-3, 4-5 Osaka (*denotes next server)
After a couple of lightning-fast service holds for each player, Anisimova must now serve to stay in the match.
Barty speaks after a ruthless win which sets up a match against either Osaka or Anisimova: “I thought tonight was really clean, I looked after my service games really well … I was able to keep momentum going really well …
“I felt like I was out of my weight class, the way she hits the ball … all in all I was able to use my slice effectively, particularly that short one.”
“Both incredible ball strikers (Osaka and Anisimova) … either match up is a little bit different, and I will change a few things up … but the sliced backhand will come out, I promise.”
Anisimova 4-6, 6-3, 3-4 *Osaka (*denotes next server)
Anisimova destroys a down-the-line forehand, on Osaka’s second serve, for 15-30. There are two pointed “Come ons” from Osaka as she claims the next two points for 40-30. And another, as she rounds off the hold with a thumping ace down the middle. Again, asked the question, Osaka comes up with the answer like the champion she is.
Anisimova 4-6, 6-3, 3-3 *Osaka (*denotes next server)
This accurate serve out wide from Anisimova is causing so much damage. She holds to love. It’s 3-3 and nothing to choose between the players.
*Anisimova 4-6, 6-3, 2-3 Osaka (*denotes next server)
A no-nonsense hold for Osaka. Both players are feeling the intensity of this match. Can Anisimova last the pace as they go deep into the third and final set? We are about to find out.
Anisimova 4-6, 6-3, 2-2 Osaka* (*denotes next server)
A double fault brings 30-30 but Anisimova hits another booming wide serve which opens up the court and brings her game point. She holds for 2-2. This is a really exciting, close battle and although both players are making errors there is plenty of ambitious shot-making too.
Barty* 6-2, 4-2 Giorgi (*Denotes next server)
It’s all going swimmingly for Ash Barty on Rod Laver Arena, a break up in the second set.
*Anisimova 4-6, 6-3, 1-2 Osaka (*denotes next server)
At 30-30, having just hit fractionally wide, Osaka hits long and it’s break point for Anisimova. Anisimova climbs into the second serve, but Osaka is absolutely rock-solid, winning back control of the rally and forcing the error, and saving the break point. Having said all that … Osaka double-faults on the next point, sending her second serve wildly long, and hands her opponent another chance. Anisimova misses out, netting a big chance to take the game! Anisimova then crashes a forehand into the net on Osaka’s second serve, at deuce, and chucks her racket on to the floor in disgust. Osaka closes out the game. That was a big, big game in this match and Anisimova will be regretting those missed chances. Maybe she’ll get another one, maybe she won’t.
In the men’s singles, Rafal Nadal (6) is due on court in about 20 minutes, against Karen Khachanov (28).
Anisimova 4-6, 6-3, 1-1 Osaka* (*denotes next server)
A strong first serve down the middle for 15-0. An excellent serve out wide, and an unerring crosscourt double-handed backhand makes it 30-15. But then another double fault from Anisimova, and a fine angled drop from Osaka brings the two-times champion a break point. And yet … a lovely volley at the net saves the break point, and Anisimova takes it up another gear to hold her serve and make it 1-1 in the first.
Anisimova* 4-6, 6-3, 0-1 Osaka (*denotes next server)
Another unforced error from Osaka brings 15-30 for Anisimova on her opponent’s serve. Osaka produces a big first serve for 30-30, then Anisimova hits long, and looks frustrated to do so, to bring up game point for Osaka. Another error by Anisimova as she dumps a forehand into the net … and Osaka edges ahead in the third set.