Novak Djokovic celebrates his birthday on Friday, with the world number one showing no signs of slowing down as he turns 33.

The world number one lifted his 17th grand slam title in January with a five-set win over Dominic Thiem.

Five-set sagas have been the domain of Djokovic throughout his career, with Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Andy Murray, Stan Wawrinka and Juan Martin del Potro all sharing the court with him for a series of grand slam thrillers that live long in the memory.

Here we look back at a selection of Djokovic's most epic encounters.

2011 US Open Semi-final v Federer ​– Win

Djokovic is renowned for his power to recover from even the most precarious of positions and Federer was on the receiving end of two such Houdini acts in successive years at Flushing Meadows.

Indeed, after saving two match points in a last-four encounter with the Swiss great in 2010, Djokovic repeated the trick en route to a 6-7 4-6 6-3 6-2 7-5 victory after three hours and 51 minutes.

"It's awkward having to explain this loss," Federer said afterwards. "Because I feel like I should be doing the other press conference."

Federer offered little praise for a stunning forehand winner that helped the Serbian save a match point, saying that at that moment Djokovic did not look like a player "who believes much anymore in winning".

He added: "To lose against someone like that, it's very disappointing, because you feel like he was mentally out of it already. Just gets the lucky shot at the end, and off you go."

2012 Australian Open semi-final v Murray – Win

There has arguably been no tournament where Djokovic demonstrated a greater proclivity for endurance than at Melbourne Park in 2012.

His semi-final with Murray, who was weeks into his partnership with coach Ivan Lendl, produced a bewitching prelude of what was to follow in the final.

Murray pushed Djokovic to the limit in a marathon lasting four hours and 50 minutes, fighting back from 5-2 down in the final set of a match in which the ultimate victor battled breathing problems.

Djokovic recovered from surrendering that lead, however, and clinched a 6-3 3-6 6-7 (4-7) 6-1 7-5 victory to set up a final with Rafael Nadal that somehow surpassed the semi-final as the pair etched their name into the record books.

2012 Australian Open final v Nadal ​– Win

With Djokovic needing to produce an exhausting effort to get beyond Murray and Nadal having taken part in his own classic semi-final with Federer, albeit with victory secured in four sets, both would have been forgiven for putting on a final below their usual standards.

They instead did the exact opposite and delivered a showpiece considered by some to be the greatest final ever.

An undulating attritional battle went for five hours and 53 minutes, making it the longest final in grand slam history and the longest Australian Open contest of all time.

Nadal was on his knees as if he had won the tournament when he took the fourth set on a tie-break and was a break up in a fittingly frenetic decider.

However, it was Djokovic who ultimately prevailed at 1:37am (local time) with a 5-7 6-4 6-2 6-7 (5-7) 7-5 triumph that clinched his fifth grand slam.

Djokovic said: "It was obvious on the court for everybody who has watched the match that both of us, physically, we took the last drop of energy that we had from our bodies, we made history tonight and unfortunately there couldn't be two winners."

2012 US Open final v Murray – Loss

Having been the thorn in Murray's side in Melbourne for successive years, also defeating him in the final of the 2011 Australian Open, Djokovic succumbed to the Scot at Flushing Meadows, but only after a Herculean comeback effort.

Murray took the first two sets, the opener won in the longest tie-break (24 minutes) of a men's championship match. Djokovic, though, appeared primed to become the first man since Gaston Gaudio in 2004 to win a slam final after losing the first two sets.

However, Murray was not be denied and dominated the decider to close out a 7-6 (12-10) 7-5 2-6 3-6 6-2 victory, the longest final in US Open history.

Gracious in defeat, Djokovic said of Murray's first slam title: "Definitely happy that he won it. Us four [Federer, Nadal, Djokovic and Murray], we are taking this game to another level. It's really nice to be part of such a strong men's tennis era."

2013 French Open semi-final v Nadal ​– Loss

With Nadal back from a serious knee injury that cost him seven months of his career, the Spaniard returned to peak form at his favourite slam with another absorbing duel with Djokovic.

Lasting four hours and 37 minutes, it did not quite match the heights of their Australian Open opus, but there were enough twists and turns to satisfy those clamouring for another Djokovic-Nadal classic.

Nadal was unable to serve for the match in the fourth set and Djokovic led 4-2 in the fifth, but a decider stretching one hour and 20 minutes went the way of the King of Clay.

"Serving for the match at 6-5 in the fourth, I was serving against the wind, so I knew it was going to be a difficult game," Nadal said after his 6-4 3-6 6-1 6-7 (3-7) 9-7 win.

"I was ready for the fight. In Australia 2012 it was a similar match - today it was me [that won]. That's the great thing about sport."

2013 Wimbledon semi-final v Del Potro – Win

"It was one of the best matches I've been a part of."

Given his travails of 2012, Djokovic's words after his victory over the 2009 US Open champion served as remarkably high praise.

It was a match worthy of such an effusive tribute.

Having twisted his knee earlier in the tournament, Del Potro's contribution to a phenomenal last-four clash served as one of more impressive feats of the Argentinian's career.

Against another opponent, his unrelenting and thunderous groundstrokes would have prevailed, but it was Djokovic's court coverage that proved the difference after four hours and 43 minutes.

Following his 7-5 4-6 7-6 (7-2) 6-7 (6-8) 6-3 victory, Djokovic said of Del Potro: "[He showed] why he's a grand slam champion, why he's right at the top, because every time he's in a tough situation, he comes up with some unbelievable shots."

2015 French Open semi-final v Murray – Win

Two days were needed to separate Djokovic and Murray as the Parisian skies played their part in the semi-final.

A storm halted proceedings on the Friday with Djokovic 2-1 up heading into the fourth set.

Murray appeared to have benefited from the delay as he began Saturday by forcing a decider, but Djokovic was clinical in wrapping up the fifth in comfortable fashion.

He triumphed 6-3 6-3 5-7 5-7 6-1, though a first Roland Garros title would have to wait, however, with Djokovic stunningly defeated by Stan Wawrinka in the final 24 hours later.

2016 US Open final v Wawrinka ​– Loss

Wawrinka would again prove Djokovic's undoing in New York as an astonishing demonstration of shot-making saw the defending champion dethroned.

The Swiss' 18 hours on court ahead of the final were double that of Djokovic, but his toil paid dividends as he bounced back from dropping the first set on a tie-break.

It was a rare occasion where Djokovic ​– battling a blister on his big toe – was rendered powerless in the face of Wawrinka's 46 winners.

Wawrinka came through 6-7 (1-7) 6-4 7-5 6-3 after three hours and 55 minutes, with Djokovic saying: "Congratulations, Stan, to your team as well. This has been absolutely deserved today. You were the more courageous player in the decisive moment and he deserves his title."

2018 Wimbledon semi-final v Nadal - Win

Spread across two days having been made to wait six hours and 36 minutes for Kevin Anderson to outlast John Isner in the other semi-final, Djokovic and Nadal combined to deliver a spectacle eminently more memorable than the meeting of the two big servers.

Djokovic led by two sets to one when play suspended at 11:02 pm (local time), Wimbledon's curfew ending any hopes of a Friday finish.

The prospect of a swift Saturday was soon put to bed for Djokovic as Nadal claimed the fourth. However, Djokovic eventually came through a deciding set among the finest ever contested by the two greats to seal a 6-4 3-6 7-6 (13-11) 3-6 10-8 victory after five hours and 15 minutes.

It marked a first Wimbledon final since 2015 and the start of Djokovic's return to the top of the sport after struggles with injury saw him tumble out of the top 20 in 2018.

Djokovic said: "Speaking from this position right now it makes it even better for me, makes it even more special because I managed to overcome challenges and obstacles, get myself to the finals of a slam." 

2019 French Open semi-final v Thiem ​– Loss

Djokovic was bidding to become the first man to hold all four grand slams at the same time twice but fell foul of Thiem and the French weather.

The last-four meeting began on a Friday but was suspended three times due to wind and rain before organisers cancelled play for the day.

Thiem eventually edged an enthralling affair 2-6 6-3 5-7 7-5 5-7 in four hours and 13 minutes, but Djokovic was quick to direct his ire at tournament officials.

"It [was] one of the worst conditions I have ever been part of," said Djokovic.

"When you're playing in hurricane kind of conditions, it's hard to perform your best."

2019 Wimbledon final v Federer ​– Win

Few would argue Djokovic did not deserve to retain the Wimbledon title. Grinding down Federer remains one of the most arduous tasks in sport, but most would accept this was a final Djokovic was fortunate to win.

An awe-inspiring match, Federer's was a vintage performance, but it was underscored by missed opportunities that will stay with him long after his dazzling career comes to an end.

Federer had a pair of match points at 8-7 in a captivating fifth set. Both were squandered, and few players in the history of tennis have ever been as ruthless at compounding the missed chances of others as Djokovic. 

He duly exercised his flair for punishing profligacy by winning the first ever 12-all tie-break, clinching a fifth Wimbledon crown 7-6 (7-5) 1-6 7-6 (7-4) 4-6 13-12 (7-3) after four hours and 57 minutes.

"If not the most exciting and thrilling finals of my career, in the top two or three and against one of the greatest players of all time," Djokovic said. "As Roger said, we both had our chances. It's quite unreal to be two match points down and come back."

Novak Djokovic insisted he did not expect to have the crowd on his side when playing Roger Federer or Rafael Nadal.

A 17-time grand slam champion, Djokovic is still behind Federer (20) and Nadal (19) on the all-time list for majors won by men, while the Serbian still struggles for support compared to the Swiss and Spaniard.

In an Instagram Live with Stan Wawrinka on Saturday, Djokovic discussed why that was the case, accepting he would often find himself on the wrong side of the support against the duo.

"For sure one thing is that Roger is arguably the greatest player of all-time," he said.

"He's the guy that is liked around the world so I don't expect, to be honest, in most of the cases, as long as he's playing, the crowd to be majority on my side. Some places, maybe, but most of the places are going to support Roger and I'm okay with that because it's Roger.

"It's very similar situation with Rafa so it's hard for me to answer to that question. Why is it like that? Am I contributing to that in a negative way that I'm taking away the crowd support for me? I don't think so.

"I think it's more just the greatness of Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal and not just them as tennis players, but them as people, as very charismatic, nice guys, humble guys, great champions that have made a huge mark in our sport and I am part of their era, so in one way I am lucky and in another way maybe not so much."

Djokovic asked Wawrinka – a three-time grand slam champion – for his opinion on the matter.

The Swiss felt tennis needed something closer to a villain, a role the 32-year-old Djokovic assumed.

"I think it's a bit of for sure what you said that they are amazing champions like you are," Wawrinka said.

"I think in your young age you were a bit different of course like we all are and they took this spot already of the nice player, humble, always fair play and all. In a movie you cannot have three good guys, you need someone who's a bit against, you know what I mean? I'm saying that with a lot of respect.

"When you were all three younger, that's the direction that everybody took a little bit and now it affects a little bit right now."

Rafael Nadal cruised into the Mexican Open semi-finals after the top seed outclassed Kwon Soon-woo in straight sets.

Nadal was in devastating form as the 19-time grand slam champion dismantled Kwon 6-2 6-1 at the ATP 500 tournament in Acapulco on Thursday.

After crushing Miomir Kecmanovic in the last 16, Nadal continued his ruthless path through the draw at the expense of the rising South Korean in one hour, 31 minutes.

Nadal – eyeing his third Acapulco title – hit 25 winners, 11 unforced errors and saved all eight break points he faced to set up a semi-final showdown with Grigor Dimitrov.

Bulgarian Dimitrov snapped a five-match losing streak against three-time major champion Stan Wawrinka by defeating the third seed 6-4 6-4.

Dimitrov – the 2014 Mexican Open champion – had not beaten Wawrinka since 2016 but the former world number three ended his drought in one hour, 25 minutes.

"I've played quite a few times against Stan and we've practised together so many times. Between us, it's mainly a mental battle," Dimitrov said. "I had lost the past five times against him, but those losses have inspired me. Those losses helped me. Even though it hurts saying it, I'm admitting it. I wanted to stand tall tonight."

John Isner – the fifth seed – booked his spot in the semis for the second successive year with a 7-6 (7-3) 3-6 6-2 win over fellow American Tommy Paul.

Isner fired down 22 aces to set up a clash against countryman Taylor Fritz, who topped Kyle Edmund 6-4 6-3.

At the Chile Open, in-form top seed Cristian Garin extended his winning streak en route to the quarter-finals in Santiago.

Garin – the Cordoba and Rio Open champion – celebrated his 10th consecutive victory by downing Alejandro Davidovich Fokina 6-2 0-6 7-6 (7-4) at the ATP 250 event.

Fellow seeds Albert Ramos-Vinolas and Thiago Monteiro also progressed but fifth seed Juan Ignacio Londero was upstaged by wildcard Thiago Seyboth Wild 7-6 (9-7) 6-4.

Top seed Rafael Nadal advanced to the Mexican Open quarter-finals in straight sets, while Alexander Zverev was a shock casualty.

Nadal – playing his first competitive tournament since the Australian Open – produced some highlight moments as he saw off Miomir Kecmanovic 6-2 7-5 in Acapulco on Wednesday.

A two-time winner of the ATP 500 event, world number two Nadal was a class above against his Serbian opponent to stay on course for the title.

After his powerful display, the 19-time grand slam champion will face Kwon Soon-woo for a spot in the semi-finals after the South African beat eighth seed Dusan Lajovic 7-6 (7-2) 6-0.

Australian Open semi-finalist Zverev was bundled out of the tournament by American qualifier Tommy Paul 6-3 6-4.

Zverev dropped his opening service game and it was a sign of things to come for the German star as Paul capitalised to eventually claim the biggest win of his career.

Next up for 22-year-old Paul is fifth seed John Isner, who downed fellow American Marcos Giron 6-3 7-6 (7-4).

Grigor Dimitrov saved two match points as he prevailed 6-7 (8-10) 6-2 7-6 (7-2) against Adrian Mannarino in a thriller.

Mannarino erased Dimitrov's 4-1 lead in the final set to earn a pair of match points but the Bulgarian rallied to set up a showdown with third seed Stan Wawrinka, who eased past Pedro Martinez 6-4 6-4.

Elsewhere, fourth seed Felix Auger-Aliassime was surprised 6-4 6-4 by Kyle Edmund and Taylor Fritz topped Ugo Humbert 6-4 6-1.

At the Chile Open in Santiago, seeds Casper Ruud, Hugo Dellien and Federico Delbonis all moved through to the quarters but Pablo Cuevas fell to qualifier Renzo Olivo.

Top seed Rafael Nadal advanced to the Mexican Open quarter-finals in straight sets, while Alexander Zverev was a shock casualty.

Nadal – playing his first competitive tournament since the Australian Open – produced some highlight moments as he saw off Miomir Kecmanovic 6-2 7-5 in Acapulco on Wednesday.

A two-time winner of the ATP 500 event, world number two Nadal was a class above against his Serbian opponent to stay on course for the title.

After his powerful display, the 19-time grand slam champion will face Kwon Soon-woo for a spot in the semi-finals after the South African beat eighth seed Dusan Lajovic 7-6 (7-2) 6-0.

Australian Open semi-finalist Zverev was bundled out of the tournament by American qualifier Tommy Paul 6-3 6-4.

Zverev dropped his opening service game and it was a sign of things to come for the German star as Paul capitalised to eventually claim the biggest win of his career.

Next up for 22-year-old Paul is fifth seed John Isner, who downed fellow American Marcos Giron 6-3 7-6 (7-4).

Grigor Dimitrov saved two match points as he prevailed 6-7 (8-10) 6-2 7-6 (7-2) against Adrian Mannarino in a thriller.

Mannarino erased Dimitrov's 4-1 lead in the final set to earn a pair of match points but the Bulgarian rallied to set up a showdown with third seed Stan Wawrinka, who eased past Pedro Martinez 6-4 6-4.

Elsewhere, fourth seed Felix Auger-Aliassime was surprised 6-4 6-4 by Kyle Edmund and Taylor Fritz topped Ugo Humbert 6-4 6-1.

At the Chile Open in Santiago, seeds Casper Ruud, Hugo Dellien and Federico Delbonis all moved through to the quarters but Pablo Cuevas fell to qualifier Renzo Olivo.

Top seed Rafael Nadal advanced to the Mexican Open quarter-finals in straight sets, while Alexander Zverev was a shock casualty.

Nadal – playing his first competitive tournament since the Australian Open – produced some highlight moments as he saw off Miomir Kecmanovic 6-2 7-5 in Acapulco on Wednesday.

A two-time winner of the ATP 500 event, world number two Nadal was a class above against his Serbian opponent to stay on course for the title.

After his powerful display, the 19-time grand slam champion will face Kwon Soon-woo for a spot in the semi-finals after the South African beat eighth seed Dusan Lajovic 7-6 (7-2) 6-0.

Australian Open semi-finalist Zverev was bundled out of the tournament by American qualifier Tommy Paul 6-3 6-4.

Zverev dropped his opening service game and it was a sign of things to come for the German star as Paul capitalised to eventually claim the biggest win of his career.

Next up for 22-year-old Paul is fifth seed John Isner, who downed fellow American Marcos Giron 6-3 7-6 (7-4).

Grigor Dimitrov saved two match points as he prevailed 6-7 (8-10) 6-2 7-6 (7-2) against Adrian Mannarino in a thriller.

Mannarino erased Dimitrov's 4-1 lead in the final set to earn a pair of match points but the Bulgarian rallied to set up a showdown with third seed Stan Wawrinka, who eased past Pedro Martinez 6-4 6-4.

Elsewhere, fourth seed Felix Auger-Aliassime was surprised 6-4 6-4 by Kyle Edmund and Taylor Fritz topped Ugo Humbert 6-4 6-1.

At the Chile Open in Santiago, seeds Casper Ruud, Hugo Dellien and Federico Delbonis all moved through to the quarters but Pablo Cuevas fell to qualifier Renzo Olivo.

Stan Wawrinka was forced into a huge battle before advancing in the Mexican Open first round on Monday.

Wawrinka, the third seed at the ATP 500 event in Acapulco, needed two hours, 45 minutes to edge Frances Tiafoe 6-3 6-7 (4-7) 7-6 (7-1).

The Swiss three-time grand slam champion squandered four match points before battling through.

Wawrinka was the only seed in action on Monday, as two American qualifiers – Tommy Paul and Marcos Giron – progressed.

Adrian Mannarino overcame wildcard Cameron Norrie 2-6 6-3 6-3, Miomir Kecmanovic edged past Alex de Minaur 3-6 6-4 6-3 and Kyle Edmund hammered Feliciano Lopez 6-4 6-1.

At the Chile Open, sixth seed Hugo Dellien got through the first round, while Roberto Carballes Baena and wildcards Thiago Seyboth Wild and Marcelo Tomas Barrios Vera also won.

Alexander Zverev is standing by his promise to donate the entire 4,120,000 Australian dollars in prize money if he wins the Australian Open after reaching the semi-final.

Following his first-round win at Melbourne Park earlier this month, Zverev pledged to give the winner's prize fund to bushfire relief if he went all the way in the year's opening grand slam.

The gesture touched hearts in Australia and it is a step closer to fruition after seventh seed Zverev progressed to his maiden slam semi-final thanks to Wednesday's 1-6 6-3 6-4 6-2 win over Stan Wawrinka. 

"I mean, my parents grew up in the Soviet Union, where you were a professional tennis player, my dad would make money outside the country, but he would have to give it away when he was getting into the country," Zverev, who will face either Rafael Nadal or Dominic Thiem in the final four, told reporters. 

"Funny enough, for them, where they never had any money, you would think that now maybe we have some, you want to keep it all for yourself. But they always said that money is something that should cause change in the world and should be put into a good thing, not keep it in a bank account and do nothing with it.

"Of course, if I win the four million, it's a lot of money for me. I'm not Roger [Federer], I'm not LeBron James, something like that. This is still big. But at the same time I know that there's people right now in this country, in this beautiful country, that lost their homes and actually they need the money. 

"They actually depend on it, building up their homes again, building up their houses again, building up the nature that Australia has, the animals as well. I think there's much better use for those people with that money than I have right now."

"When I first said it, everybody came up to me: I really want to see you give that four million cheque to somebody else and not keep it. Like, I am going to do it. It's not a problem for me. Players couldn't really believe it," he continued.

"But as I said, at the same time there are other people that are more money-driven than me. I just believe with this money I could start something positive. This is what matters most to me, not what somebody else thinks about it."

Zverev completed a stunning turnaround against three-time major champion Wawrinka after losing the opening set in just 24 minutes.

After the lopsided set, Zverev rallied and turned the match on its head to become the first German since Tommy Haas (Wimbledon 2009) to progress to a slam semi.

Finally living up to the hype, having struggled at slam level, 11-time ATP Tour winner Zverev said: "I've done well at other tournaments. I've won Masters Series, World Tour Finals. But the grand Slams were always the week where I kind of even wanted it too much. 

"I was doing things in a way too professional. I was not talking to anybody. I wasn't going out with friends. I wasn't having dinner. I was just really almost too, too focused. Changed that a little bit this week. I'm doing much more things outside the court. 

"I also was playing that bad at ATP Cup that I didn't have any expectations. I wasn't really expecting myself in the semi-finals or quarter-finals. Maybe this is a steppingstone. Maybe this is how it should happen. We'll see how it goes now in two days' time."

Alexander Zverev reached his first grand slam semi-final after overcoming a horror start against 2014 Australian Open champion Stan Wawrinka, completing a stunning turnaround in four sets.

Zverev, 22, was annihilated in a lopsided opening set but the seventh seed rallied past three-time major champion Wawrinka 1-6 6-3 6-4 6-2 in Melbourne on Wednesday.

Already enjoying his best Melbourne Park run, highly rated Zverev has yet to deliver on his enormous potential at slam level, but the 11-time ATP Tour champion became the first German since Tommy Haas (2009 Wimbledon) to progress to a major semi.

Zverev, who has promised to donate his entire prize money should he win the tournament, will face either world number one Rafael Nadal or Dominic Thiem in the final four.

It was a jaw-dropping start from the near-flawless Wawrinka as the veteran – without a semi-final appearance since the 2017 French Open – steamrolled Zverev in a 24-minute opening set.

Imposing, powerful and precise, Wawrinka raced out to a 5-0 lead through 16 minutes against Zverev – who was powerless after shanking a forehand into the upper tier of Rod Laver Arena.

Wawrinka – struck down by injuries in recent years – won 100 per cent of his first serves and hit seven winners as Zverev lost a set for the first time this tournament.

While the first set was one-way traffic, the second was anything but as Zverev flicked the switch and wrestled back momentum.

Zverev, who was coming off just 11 points, went from tallying 10 unforced errors in the first to just two in the second set to claw himself back in the contest, also winning all 18 of his first serves.

Having not earned a break point chance in the opener, Zverev finally broke through in the eighth game after Wawrinka fired a forehand into the net as he levelled the match.

It was a topsy-turvy third set – the pair exchanging breaks to begin with before Zverev broke in the fifth game to move ahead following Wawrinka's backhand into the net.

Wawrinka saved a pair of set points at 5-3 but it only delayed the inevitable as Zverev took a two-sets-to-one lead and the latter rode his momentum in the fourth.

Zverev broke twice inside the opening three games of a one-sided set, with Wawrinka avoiding a bagel in a consolation for the 34-year-old.

 

STATISTICAL BREAKDOWN 
Zverev [7] bt Wawrinka [15] 1-6 6-3 6-4 6-2

WINNERS/UNFORCED ERRORS   
Zverev – 34/28
Wawrinka – 35/39

ACES/DOUBLE FAULTS   
Zverev – 13/1
Wawrinka – 4/5  

BREAK POINTS WON  
Zverev – 5/13
Wawrinka – 3/6

FIRST SERVE PERCENTAGE  
Zverev – 80
Wawrinka – 56

PERCENTAGE OF POINTS WON ON FIRST/SECOND SERVE  
Zverev – 76/42
Wawrinka – 69/52

TOTAL POINTS  
Zverev – 104
Wawrinka – 94 

Rafael Nadal survived a fourth-round test at the Australian Open, but Daniil Medvedev fell to Stan Wawrinka in Melbourne on Monday.

Nadal overcame Nick Kyrgios in a huge battle on Rod Laver Arena, reaching the quarter-finals at the year's first grand slam for the 12th time.

The man he conquered in last year's US Open final, Medvedev, fell short in a five-set thriller against Wawrinka.

Meanwhile, Alexander Zverev's impressive run continued and Dominic Thiem also advanced to the last eight.

 

NADAL GETS PAST KYRGIOS

Nadal needed three hours, 38 minutes and a fine performance to edge past Kyrgios 6-3 3-6 7-6 (8-6) 7-6 (7-4).

The world number one, who has endured a frosty relationship with the Australian, hit 64 winners and made just 27 unforced errors in his win.

A visibly emotional Kyrgios warmed up for the blockbuster clash in a Kobe Bryant jersey, paying tribute after the Los Angeles Lakers great's death on Sunday.

The 23rd seed fought hard as the pair put on a show, but was left to rue costly errors in the two tie-breaks.

Nadal will face Thiem, who powered past Gael Monfils 6-2 6-4 6-4 in under two hours, as the Spaniard's bid to join Roger Federer on 20 grand slam titles continues.

Thiem, 26, reached the quarter-finals of the Australian Open for the first time.

 

RESURGENT WAWRINKA OVERCOMES MEDVEDEV

Champion in Melbourne in 2014, Wawrinka produced what was the only upset of the day – at least by ranking – as he eliminated Medvedev.

The Swiss three-time grand slam champion claimed his first win in three meetings with the Russian fourth seed, winning 6-2 2-6 4-6 7-6 (7-2) 6-2.

After failing to go beyond the third round of any major in 2018, Wawrinka reached two quarters in 2019 and is into the last eight in Melbourne for the first time since 2017 – the year he underwent knee surgery.

The loss saw Medvedev fall to a 0-6 win-loss record in five-setters in his career.

"As I say, I don't like to play five sets," he told a news conference. "I get tired. Even though I'm there, I want to win it. As I say, at this moment, didn't win one in my life. We'll try better next time."

 

ZVEREV'S CLASSY RUN CONTINUES

Next up for Wawrinka is Zverev, who is yet to drop a set after impressively brushing past Russian 17th seed Andrey Rublev 6-4 6-4 6-4.

Zverev, the German seventh seed, did not face a break point on his way to the Australian Open quarter-finals for the first time.

It also marked the first time Zverev has reached the quarters at a major other than the French Open, where he lost in the last eight in 2018 and 2019.

"He showed why he's a grand slam champion, beating Medvedev, coming back from two sets to one down, playing great tennis," Zverev said about Wawrinka.

"He's still one of the toughest players to play, especially here in Australia."

Nick Kyrgios emerged triumphant in a dramatic five-set clash with Karen Khachanov despite struggling with a hamstring injury, booking a highly anticipated meeting with Rafael Nadal in the fourth round of the Australian Open.

After passing up match points in the third and fourth sets, home favourite Kyrgios came out on top in the longest match of his career by beating Khachanov 6-2 7-6 (7-5) 6-7 (6-8) 6-7 (7-9) 7-6 (10-8) at a raucous Melbourne Arena in four hours, 26 minutes.

Top seed Nadal beat fellow Spaniard Pablo Carreno Busta 6-1 6-2 6-4 in one hour, 38 minutes on Rod Laver Arena, while US Open runner-up Daniil Medvedev overcame Alexei Popyrin 6-4 6-3 6-2 and will face Stan Wawrinka in the last 16.

The Swiss advanced after John Isner retired while 6-4 4-1 down, with Dominic Thiem, Alexander Zverev and Gael Monfils joining him in round round four.

 

CROCKED KYRGIOS CLINGS ON

Kyrgios started confidently against Khachanov and, despite taking a medical time-out at 5-2 up in the first set, managed to edge a second-set tie-break while continuing to grip at the back of his leg.

However, he was unable to repeat the trick at the second time of asking and became increasingly frustrated as the Russian wrested control of the match away from him.

Kyrgios appeared to be struggling for motivation at points and became increasingly vocal, but he hung in to take the victory to the delight of his fervent supporters.

The Australian has a strained relationship with Nadal, who he described as "salty" after their meeting at last year's Mexican Open and impersonated after being called for a time violation while serving against Gilles Simon in round two.

Asked about going up against the 19-time major champion in his on-court interview, Kyrgios said: "Whatever happened between us he's an amazing player. I'm not even thinking about that right now, I'm thinking about my legs and getting them in an ice bath and getting some food."

 

NO STOPPING NADAL

Nadal was at his imperious best against Carreno Busta, winning 87 per cent and 78 per cent of points behind his first and second serve respectively, while also smashing 41 winners – twice as many as his opponent.

"It was my best match of the tournament so far, without a doubt. Big difference between today and the previous days. I have been serving well, starting to create damage with the forehand," said Nadal.

"Every day is a different story. But, of course, it's important to make steps forward. It's clear that today I made an important one."

Asked if he likes Kyrgios, Nadal said: "I don't know. I don't know him personally, honestly, to have a clear opinion."

 

RUBLEV ROLLS ON

Rublev started 2020 with titles at the Qatar Open and Brisbane International and has continued his fine form at Melbourne Park.

The world number 16's 2-6 7-6 (7-3) 6-4 7-6 (7-4) triumph over David Goffin was his 15th match win in succession, four of which came in the Davis Cup Finals.

Rublev had wobbles after taking big leads in both tie-breaks, but Goffin made 27 unforced errors in the last two sets to help the Russian progress to a meeting with Zverev.

Seventh seed Zverev is yet to drop a set at Melbourne Park after overcoming Fernando Verdasco 6-2 6-2 6-4.

 

"IT'S A DISGRACE"

After beating qualifier Ernests Gulbis 7-6 (7-2) 6-4 6-3 to set up a fourth-round meeting with Dominic Thiem – who overcame 29th seed Taylor Fritz 6-2 6-4 6-7 (5-7) 6-4 – Monfils refuted a report claiming excessively playing video games led to him suffering a hand injury.

"You know, as I say, it's misunderstanding with people. I say this in a funny way, to be honest, but it's a disgrace, to be honest with you, because I'm fine," Monfils told reporters in a news conference.

"I'm in the second week, playing great tennis. I think it's just someone who, I don't know, try to — you know, I played ATP Cup, was fine. I practiced here for one month. I was really fine.

"I never said I was hurt. Somehow, you know, playing PlayStation, this? Come on. And it's easy, because I think I'm a good name to make up good story like that. Now you know."

Rafael Nadal and Daniil Medvedev booked their spots in the Australian Open third round, while Alexander Zverev and Stan Wawrinka also progressed.

Nadal remained on track in his bid to win a 20th grand slam title despite wasting chances against Federico Delbonis in Melbourne on Thursday.

The seeds have been relatively untroubled in the opening rounds in Australia, and they are on a collision course heading into the end of the first week and into the second.

Medvedev, Zverev and Wawrinka were also among the winners in the top half of the draw.

 

NADAL BATTLES INTO ALL-SPANISH THIRD-ROUND CLASH

Nadal converted just three of 20 break points to overcome Delbonis 6-3 7-6 (7-4) 6-1.

The Spanish star was wasteful before winning in two hours, 30 minutes, while he apologetically kissed a ball girl after striking her with a wayward forehand late in the victory.

Awaiting Nadal is Pablo Carreno Busta, the 27th seed having got past German qualifier Peter Gojowczyk 6-4 6-1 1-6 6-4.

Nadal has won his previous four meetings with Carreno Busta.

 

MEDVEDEV, ZVEREV AND WAWRINKA ADVANCE

Runner-up to Nadal at last year's US Open, fourth seed Medvedev was too strong for Spain's Pedro Martinez as he won 7-5 6-1 6-3.

Another member of the 'Next Gen', Zverev got the job done against Egor Gerasimov, winning 7-6 (7-5) 6-4 7-5.

Zverev will meet Fernando Verdasco after the Spanish veteran upset 26th seed Nikoloz Basilashvili in four sets.

Wawrinka, the 2014 champion, was pushed hard by Andreas Seppi, but the Swiss made it 10 wins in 14 meetings with the Italian veteran, securing a 4-6 7-5 6-3 3-6 6-4 victory.

John Isner awaits Wawrinka after the American served 32 aces in a 6-4 6-3 6-3 win against Chilean qualifier Alejandro Tabilo.

Dominic Thiem (fifth seed) and David Goffin (11th) were pushed to five sets before overcoming Alex Bolt and Pierre-Hugues Herbert respectively.

 

KYRGIOS, KHACHANOV SET UP CINCINNATI REMATCH

Nick Kyrgios and Karen Khachanov were both tested before setting up a third-round clash.

Kyrgios got past Gilles Simon 6-2 6-4 4-6 7-5, while Khachanov needed four hours, 34 minutes to edge Mikael Ymer 6-2 2-6 6-4 3-6 7-6 (10-8).

Khachanov won his previous meeting with Kyrgios in Cincinnati last year, but it was a clash best remembered for the Australian's outburst at umpire Fergus Murphy that resulted in a 16-week suspended ban and fine.

Gael Monfils, Andrey Rublev and Taylor Fritz were among the other seeds to win through on Thursday.

The 108th edition of the Australian Open begins on Monday as the world's best tennis players battle it out at the first grand slam of 2020.

Novak Djokovic and Naomi Osaka will return to defend the titles they won last year, adding to the event's storied history.

The pair will face stiff competition from stacked fields in the men's and women's draw as a host of players seek glory in Melbourne.

To whet your appetite for the forthcoming feast of tennis, here is a selection of the best Opta facts related to the Australian Open.

 

- The last three years have seen the 12 women's grand slam tournaments being won by 10 different players; only Simona Halep and Osaka have won twice in that span.

- Djokovic won his seventh Australian Open title in 2019, the most of any male player in the history of the tournament. He has won the event every time he has reached the semi-finals.

- Of the last 14 editions of the Australian Open, 12 have been won by either Djokovic (7) or Roger Federer (5) – Rafael Nadal (2009) and Stan Wawrinka (2014) are the only other winners in that period.

- Victoria Azarenka (2012, 2013), Serena Williams (2009, 2010) and Jennifer Capriati (2001, 2002) are the only women to have won successive titles at the Australian Open since 2000.

- Federer won his sixth Australian Open title in 2018, 14 years after his first win at the event; no player has won multiple Australian Open titles over a longer period in the Open Era. It is his last win in a grand slam tournament to date.

- Since 2005 only Williams (2010, 2015) and Azarenka (2013) have won the title at the Australian Open as the number one ranked player in the world.

- Williams has not won any of the last 11 grand slams, with her last victory coming at the Australian Open in 2017 when she was pregnant – this is the American's longest span without a major title.

- Petra Kvitova lost in the final of the Australian Open last year, the only time she went further than the quarter-finals in her last 19 grand slam appearances, since winning Wimbledon in 2014.

- Either Nadal or Andy Murray has been the runner-up in nine of the last 10 Australian Open men's finals, Murray losing five times and Nadal four. Marin Cilic in 2018 is the only other player to lose an Australian Open final in that span.

- The last time an Australian made it to the men's final at the Australian Open was Lleyton Hewitt in 2005 and the last Australian to win the title was Mark Edmondson in 1976 (against fellow Australian John Newcombe).

Venus Williams' clash with Coco Gauff headlines the Australian Open first round, but former champion Stan Wawrinka also faces an early test in Melbourne.

Williams and Gauff will meet for the second time in what is a blockbuster opening-round encounter.

But there are several intriguing clashes in the first round at the year's first grand slam and we take a look at six of the best.

 

Damir Dzumhur v Stan Wawrinka [15]

Wawrinka would have preferred a friendlier draw than a man he has lost to in two of their three meetings. The Swiss 2014 champion was resurgent last year, while Dzumhur has been unable to replicate the form of his breakout season in 2017. Still, the Bosnian beat Wawrinka in three sets on clay in Geneva last year so the three-time grand slam champion will have to be near his best.

Daniil Medvedev [4] v Frances Tiafoe

Tiafoe thrilled during a run to the quarter-finals in Melbourne last year, but that would prove to be the high point of his 2019. The American has made a slow start to 2020 with first-round losses in Doha and Auckland, but was competitive against Medvedev in a 6-2 7-5 loss in Washington last year. After a spectacular 2019 that included reaching the US Open final, Medvedev shapes as the most likely to stop the 'Big Three', although he will need to get through a somewhat tricky opener first.

Sam Querrey v Borna Coric [25]

While he has dropped off since 2017, Querrey will fancy his chances against Coric after the Croatian's difficult finish to last year. Coric finished 2019 with six straight losses and suffered two more at the ATP Cup, to go with a win over Dominic Thiem. After four consecutive first-round exits in Melbourne, Coric reached the fourth round last year, while Querrey has never been beyond the third round in Melbourne. Coric won their only previous meeting at the French Open in 2015.

Venus Williams v Coco Gauff

Arguably the pick of any first-round match, the 39-year-old Williams meets the 15-year-old Gauff once more. Gauff stunned Williams 6-4 6-4 at Wimbledon last year and her ranking then (313) compared to now (66) tells the story of how she finished 2019 as the teenager followed it up with a title win in Linz. Williams withdrew from Brisbane due to injury, making this a hugely tough task for the seven-time grand slam singles champion.

Kristina Mladenovic v Karolina Pliskova [2]

Pliskova has enjoyed Melbourne in recent years, reaching at least the quarter-finals in each of the past three, but was handed a tough start in 2020. The Czech is coming off a title win in Brisbane and that will give her much-needed confidence ahead of facing former world number 10 Mladenovic. The pair have split their previous four meetings, with Mladenovic winning the last of those in 2017.

Donna Vekic [19] v Maria Sharapova

A wildcard, Sharapova was always going to be the danger in the draw – and she landed alongside 19th seed Vekic. Vekic enjoyed a fine 2019 to rise into the world's top 20, while Sharapova battled injuries and has fallen to 145th in the rankings. Vekic should be the favourite to advance, but if five-time major winner Sharapova can find some form, the Russian is always a threat and last bowed out in the opening round in Melbourne in 2010.

Stan Wawrinka claimed a comfortable 6-3 6-4 victory over Jeremy Chardy to reach the quarter-finals of the Qatar Open on Tuesday.

In his first match of 2020, top seed Wawrinka saved six of the seven break points he faced and came from 0-3 down in the second set to book a meeting with Aljaz Bedene, who overcame Alexander Bublik 6-3 7-5.

Laslo Djere defeated Lorenzo Sonego 6-1 3-6 6-2 and Mikhail Kukushkin downed Malek Jaziri 6-0 6-3, earning a clash with second seed Andrey Rublev in round two.

Wawrinka's doubles partner Frances Tiafoe – seeded eighth in the singles – lost 6-4 4-6 6-4 to Marton Fucsovics, while Pierre-Hugues Herbert and Cem Ilkel also progressed.

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