Murray defends 16-year-old and McEnroe calls out Nadal – Aus Open overnight round-up | Tennis | Sport

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Murray defends 16-year-old and McEnroe calls out Nadal – Aus Open overnight round-up | Tennis | Sport

Russian teenager Mirra Andreeva staged a stunning comeback to reach the fourth round of the Australian Open on her debut here – and also won praise from Andy Murray. The defending women’s champion looked in ominous form as tensions from the invasion of Ukraine returned to the Australian Open

Jannick Sinner has yet to drop a set while Stefanos Tsitsipas is in search of glory and American Emma Navarro could be an Aussie. And John McEnroe has given his view on Rafa Nadal signing as an ambassador for the Saudi Tennis Federation.

Last Brit Standing Cam Norrie will face No.11 seed Casper Ruud in the third match in the John Cain Arena on Saturday not before 5pm here – 6am in the UK.

Sweet 16

Last year’s junior finalist Andreeva, 16, was already well known for saying Andy Murray is “more beautiful” in real life and for reaching the Wimbleldon fourth round.

The world No.47 has now reached the last 16 here by beating world No.72 Diane Parry in a topsy-turvy match 1-6 6-1 7-6.

The Frenchwoman served for the match at 5-1 in the third and had a match point at 5-2 and received a warning for racquet abuse as she lost five consecutive games before forcing the tiebreak. Andreeva won the decider 10-5.

Watching Andy Murray wrote on X: “Andreeva down 5-1 in third. Commentator ‘she really needs to work on mental side of her game.. she’s too hard on herself when she’s losing’, 30 minutes later 7-6 Andreeva wins.

« Maybe the reason she turned the match round is because of her mental strength. Maybe she turned the match around because she is hard on herself and demands more of herself when she’s losing/playing badly? Winner.”

Sabalenka is unstoppable

Ukrainian Lesia Tsurenko refused to shake hands with Aryna Sabalenka after failing to take a game off the Belarusian in a 6-0 6-0 thrashing in the Rod Laver Arena. The world No.33, who was wearing a blue and yellow ribbon, raised her hand to acknowledge her opponent after 52 minutes but did not come to the net.

Tsurenko pulled out of a third round clash between the pair in Indian Wells last year after revealing she had suffered a panic attack. It was the first double bagel at the AO since Ash Barty trounced Danka Kovinic of Montenegro in 44 minutes in 2021.

World No.2 Sabalenka has dropped only six games in her first three matches. Courtside interviewer Andrea Petkovic asked her: « Is that fun for you, sucking the joy out of other tennis players’ games? »

Sabalenka said: « I’m just super happy with the level I’m playing so far and hopefully I can just keep going like that or even better. » Ukrainian Marta Kostyuk beat Russian Elina Avanesyan 2-6 6-4 6-4 in the 1573 Arena and also offered a wave of the hand and not a handshake.

Jannik Sinner has also yet to drop a set

The Italian world No.4 thrashed Argentine No.26 seed Sebastian Baez 6-0 6-1 6-3 in under two hours in the opening match in the Margaret Court Arena.

The Davis Cup champion has yet to drop a set in pursuit of his first Major title. “I feel good on the court at the moment,” he said.

His post-match interview with Jim Courier was more entertaining when the Italian was coy about his racquet – « Secrets, guys’ – before adding: « Honestly, many players ask me what racquet I play with and I think it’s a normal racquet, to be honest. If I’m honest… »

Courier interjected: « You keep saying you’re being honest which just tells me you’re lying. All you’re doing is lying. Come clean, man!”

Greek philosophy

Stefanos Tsitsipas will face Taylor Fritz in the fourth round in a repeat of their 2022 clash here won by the Greek. “I approach these situations and these experiences with a lot of humility, and I’m always trying to get them better,” Tsitsipas said.

« What I mean by that is make them more emotional and make them, create a bigger glory mentally in my mind. You know, these moments are very glorious, especially when you’re able to overcome them and win those matches to go to the next sort of level of yourself as a tennis player, and they count a lot for me.”

Aussie Emma

American Emma Navarro beat Italy’s Elisabetta Cocciaretto 4-6 6-3 6-3 to reach the third round and then celebrated like a local. The world No.26 was signing autographs courtside at Kia Arena when a fan passed her a bottle of Carlton Dry beer. She took a sip and handed it back.

Navarro later said: « I’m pretty easy-going off the court, pretty chill. »

Rafa cash

John McEnroe is not a fan of Saudi Arabian investment in sport – and told Channel Nine today.

« I think it’s inevitable,” said the American legend. “I was really surprised to see Billie Jean King sort of endorsing the idea. It appears they’re not treating women with the type of respect that you see in our countries for example.

« I personally don’t agree with it, but at the same time I think they’re a bunch of hypocrites who are saying, ‘how dare those golfers take the money’. Then I just saw Rafa is an ambassador. There’s a saying and I believe it is, ‘money talks’. »

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