After a three-week delay from its traditional start date, the Australian Open is into its second week and many of the biggest names in the men’s and women’s game are still in the hunt for the title.
Tournament director Craig Tiley had the unenviable task of working alongside public health experts to manage the arrival of over 1,200 players and officials into the country on 15 charter flights with participants facing a strict two-week period in quarantine.
From Saturday, however, crowds have no longer been in attendance at Melbourne Park after the state of Victoria entered a five-day lockdown. Up to 30,000 fans had been allowed in each day but the tournament has continued behind closed doors after an outbreak of coronavirus in a hotel.
How are the big names getting on?
Serena Williams and Naomi Osaka both survived close battles to reach the quarter-finals of the Australian Open while Simona Halep gained revenge on Iga Swiatek.
Third seed and title favourite Osaka saved two match points on her way to a 4-6 6-4 7-5 victory over last year’s runner-up Garbine Muguruza before Williams battled to a 6-4 2-6 6-4 win against Aryna Sabalenka.
Williams next faces Halep, who was beaten heavily by Swiatek as the Polish teenager swept to her first grand slam title at the French Open but turned the tables to win 3-6 6-1 6-4.
Osaka will next face the highly unconventional Hsieh Su-wei, who at 35 became the oldest player to reach a first slam quarter-final in the Open era with a 6-4 6-2 victory over Marketa Vondrousova.
Jessica Pegula continued her breakthrough run at the Australian Open by knocking out Elina Svitolina, while Ashleigh Barty eased through to the quarter-finals, making it eight victories in a row with a 6-3 6-4 success against American Shelby Rogers.
Rafael Nadal looks to be peaking at the right time after brushing aside Fabio Fognini to reach the quarter-finals of the Australian Open.
The second seed came into the tournament with serious concerns over a back problem but revealed after beating Britain’s Cameron Norrie in the third round that it had finally started to improve.
Fognini came from two sets down to beat Nadal at the US Open in 2015 but, after failing to convert a lead in the second set, he swiftly succumbed to a 6-3 6-4 6-2 defeat.
Novak Djokovic overcame discomfort from a muscle tear with painkillers to beat Milos Raonic and move into the quarter-finals.
Russian friends Daniil Medvedev and Andrey Rublev will play each other for a spot in the last four after straightforward victories.
How have the Brits got on?
It was not a good start for the Brits as Katie Boulter fell to Daria Kasatkina in the first round 6-1 6-4 on the opening day. Twenty four hours later and British No1 Johanna Konta was forced to retire in the second set of her match against Slovenia’s Kaja Juvan due to an abdominal injury.
Francesca Jones, on her Grand Slam main-draw debut, made a promising start against American Shelby Rogers before eventually losing 6-4, 6-1 to a player ranked almost 200 places higher. It left only Heather Watson as the sole female Briton in the main draw, the 28-year-old putting lack of preparation aside to beat Kristyna Pliskova and reach the second round. That was where her adventures ended, however, as she lost to Anett Kontaveit 6-7 (5-7), 6-4, 6-2.
In the men’s draw, Cameron Norrie won the opening-round Battle of the Brits, beating 30th seed and British No1 Dan Evans 6-4, 4-6, 6-4, 7-5 to reach the second round for the first time. He then defeated Russia’s Roman Safiullin in four sets to reach the last 32 for the first time but came up against Nadal, who ended his – and British – hopes in straight sets.