A golden opportunity to reach the Australian Open final, and a giant-killer’s latest attempt at history, are the feature acts of night seven at Melbourne Park.
Stefanos Tsitsipas’ clash with Jannik Sinner begins proceedings before Victoria Azarenka battles Lin Zhu.
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Mixed results for Aussie men | 01:59
CLEAR PATH TO AO FINAL LOOMS FOR TSITSIPAS
He may not be the tournament favourite – that’s going to be Novak Djokovic pretty much every year until the moment he loses a match point in Melbourne – but Stefanos Tsitsipas must know this is a huge week for him.
The Greek star came of age at the Australian Open four years ago, making the first of three semi-final appearances following a famous upset of Roger Federer.
Now he is the highest seed left in the men’s singles draw. With Djokovic in the other half, and Rafael Nadal knocked out, it would be fair to proclaim Tsitsipas the favourite to make it into the final from the top half.
His path opened up further when unseeded Czech Jiri Lehecka beat No.6 seed Felix Auger-Aliassime, to become his potential quarter-final opponent.
Tsitsipas will become the world No.1 for the first time if he wins the Australian Open.
The question for his opponent Jannik Sinner is whether he can take his clear talent and produce the goods on the big stage.
Sinner made the quarter-finals of three slams last year and has at least made the fourth round in six consecutive slams – a remarkable feat of consistency.
But he has never gone further than that, losing to Tsitsipas in straight sets in the quarter-finals in Melbourne last year.
Tsitsipas is 4-1 against Sinner, the only loss coming on clay, all of the Greek’s wins coming in straight sets.
Tsitsipas immediately broke for 1-0, dropping just one point in the game. In response Sinner dashed out to 0-40 but gave up all of those break opportunities, plus a fourth a few points later as the No.3 seed consolidated.
Djokovic downs Dimitrov with ease | 01:06
GIANT-KILLER TRIES TO KO TWO-TIME CHAMP
It’s safe to say this wasn’t on the cards for Lin Zhu coming into the Australian Open.
But after consecutive upsets over seeds – first No.32 Jil Teichmann, then a third-round stunner over No.6 Maria Sakkari – the Chinese can make it a triple treat when she faces Victoria Azarenka tonight.
Zhu had never been past the second round of a slam before this run to the fourth round, and lost in qualifying at the last two hard-court slams before this one.
All of that will leave Azarenka feeling this is a terrific opportunity for her, getting the world No.87 in the last 16 of a slam.
The only former champion left in the women’s singles draw – a stat came into existence after her first-round win over Sofia Kenin – Azarenka is aiming at just her second appearance in the quarter-finals of a slam since January 2016.
She won the 2012 and 2013 Australian Opens and her most recent deep run at a slam was when she, unseeded, made the final of the 2020 US Open.
Zhu Lin’s emotional post-match interview | 01:29
AUSTRALIAN OPEN DAY 7 – ORDER OF PLAY (All times AEDT)
Night session from 7pm — singles matches only
Rod Laver Arena Stefanos Tsitsipas (GRE) v  Jannik Sinner (ITA)  Victoria Azarenka (BLR) v Lin Zhu (CHN)
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