Coverage of day four of the Australian Open

Aussie Alex Bolt has been eliminated from the Australian Open in scenes of cruel heartbreak as he succumbed to World No. 5 Dominic Thiem and five-set fatigue in a grand slam epic on Thursday.

Bolt stunned the tennis world by snatching a two sets to one lead that had Thiem on the brink of another grand slam flop – only for fatigue to cruelly break him down as the match entered a fourth hour of play.

Thiem woke up from an earlier brain meltdown in the second set to again turn the match on its head by taking the fourth set 6-1.


The Austrian then raced through the fifth set as Bolt struggled to move around the court, securing his place in the third round with a 6-2 5-7 6-7 6-1 6-2 victory.

For Bolt there was only heartbreak.

The world No. 140 was seen wincing in between some points in the fifth set and appeared stiff as fatigue set in.

"Thiem sees that he's wounded," Jim Courier told Channel 9.

"It looks like Alex Bolt's body is hurting right now. It looks like the fatigue is overcoming him. This is a real shame.

"He's desperate. He's swinging for the fences. Hitting closer to the fences than the court on some of these balls.

"He's played some remarkable tennis though."

'Filthy' Melbourne horrifies tennis world

An Australian Open that has been hit by weather extremes faced a new challenge on Thursday: dirty rain, after overnight downpours left courts muddy and unplayable.


Workers armed with squeegees and high-pressure hoses rushed to clean the dirty surfaces, delaying matches for an extended period on most of the courts.

Play on some outside courts at Melbourne Park was delayed until at least 3pm (AEDT) before tournament officials announced a series of matches had officially been cancelled for the day.

The Open sent out a media alert at 3pm, announcing 11 matches had been cancelled and rescheduled for Friday while another three matches had been re-scheduled on different courts.

After play was originally delayed until 11.30am (AEDT) because of a morning shower, officials were forced to re-assess when the sun arrived in Melbourne and exposed dust and ash covering the courts.

The dust residue from the dusty rain that blanketed Melbourne in grime on Wednesday night was too much for ground staff and ball kids to wipe away.

The Yarra turned into a river of mud on Thursday. Photo / Twitter
The Yarra turned into a river of mud on Thursday. Photo / Twitter

Tournament officials made the decision that the courts would have to be cleared with a high pressure hose to assure safe and standard playing conditions.

Officials eventually announced Showcourt 3 was fit for play to resume at 12.30pm (AEDT), while 1573 Arena was still yet to be cleared for play at 2pm (AEDT).

International tennis commentators in Melbourne declared the suspension of play because of a dust storm to be a "first" for grand slam tennis in the professional tennis era – others said the crazy scenes across Melbourne were further evidence of climate change.

Play was able to begin as scheduled at 11am (AEDT) on the three main courts with roofs, including Rod Laver Arena.

Aussie pounces as World No. 5 loses his brain

Aussie Alex Bolt is serving up an incredible fightback on Melbourne Arena, turning his battle with World No. 5 Dominic Thiem on its head.

Bolt was just one set away from the upset of the tournament after he snatched a dramatic third set tiebreak to lead two sets to one.

The epic contest then headed into a deciding fifth set when Thiem woke up from his slumber to level the match at two sets all.

Bolt, the world No. 140, appeared on the brink of going down two sets to love when Thiem had a chance to serve out the second set – but, in the blink, of an eye, the match transformed.

From 5-3 down in the second set, Bolt won four straight service games to level the match 6-2 5-7 and then continued to frustrate Thiem in a third set armwestle.

After saving all seven break points in the third set, Bolt went on to take the set 7-5 in a tiebreak.

As the crowd erupted on set point, Channel 9 commentator Sam Groth said: "It is goosebumps stuff out here on Melbourne Arena.

"Who would have thought after the first 30 minutes of this one?

"He now has a two sets to one lead over the World No. 5 and the energy out here at Melbourne Arena, it's incredible right now."

American tennis guru Brad Gilbert said it would be a "monster upset" if Bolt is able to finish the job.

However, just as Bolt looked comfortable, the match took another dramatic twist when Thiem snatched the fourth set 6-1.

While Bolt's charge brought the local crowd to its feet, the tennis world was left stunned by Thiem's "total collapse" in the middle sets.

The Austrian star was heard yelling at himself during the second and third sets, trying to kick himself out of his slump.

"What the hell," he barked angrily after one unforced error.

"Get your head in the game."

He also appeared to be in a battle with the Aussie crowd and was even hit with a code violation for coaching in the second set.

No. 4 seed races into fourth round

Fourth-seeded Russian Daniil Medvedev has breezed into the third round of the Australian Open with a straight-sets win over qualifier Pedro Martinez.

One of the title fancies at Melbourne Park, Medvedev overpowered the Spaniard 7-5 6-1 6-3 in two hours and nine minutes.

His win opens the door for a next-up clash with Australian Alexei Popyrin, who can move through to the last 32 with a win over Jaume Munar on Thursday night.

Aussie star's rude press conference discovery

Aussie Ajla Tomljanovic says her day was ruined after discovering she could have overturned two pivotal moments with Hawkeye challenges after two critical calls went against her on Thursday.

Tomljanovic twice chose not to challenge overrule calls made by chair umpire Marija Cicak during her third round 6-3 3-6 6-3 loss to Garbine Muguruza.

She only realised both of her challenges to the crucial calls would have been successful when a reporter gave her the bad news in her press conference.

The most important of the two calls came in the first set when Muguruza was broken when she sent a ball long – but replays showed the ball caught the line.

Instead of going ahead 3-1 in the first set, Tomljanovic fell to 2-2 and went on to lose the set 6-3.

The other moment came early in the second set when Cicak made another incorrect overrule.

Tomljanovic was horrified to hear the news in her press conference.

"What? Are you serious," she said with a grim facial expression.

"No way, that was in? The one on the baseline? I just have too much faith in Cicak, I swear. I trust her a lot. I probably shouldn't have done that. Wow that just really did not make my day."

She was so upset about it, the reporter apologised for delivering the news.

"Now I'm like literally going to challenge every overrule," she said.

Aussie suffers cruel loss, Barty inflicts pain on compatriots

Aussie Ajla Tomljanovic fought valiantly but fell at the final hurdle as she lost to Garbine Muguruza in an enthralling match that lasted two hours and 21 minutes.

Tomljanovic dropped the first set as both players struggled on serve, then won the second to send the match to a decider.

But Muguruza got the vital break midway through the third set to grab the ascendancy and she held on for a 6-3 3-6 6-3 win.

Over on Melbourne Arena, Ash Barty was taking on fellow Australians Jessica Moore and Astra Sharma as she partnered up with German Julia Goerges in the doubles.

Barty and Goerges won the first set of the opening round clash 6-2.

Aussie suffers cruel loss

Aussie Ajla Tomljanovic fought valiantly but fell at the final hurdle as she lost to Garbine Muguruza in an enthralling match that lasted two hours and 21 minutes.

Tomljanovic dropped the first set as both players struggled on serve, then won the second to send the match to a decider.

But Muguruza got the vital break midway through the third set to grab the ascendancy and she held on for a 6-3 3-6 6-3 win.

Women's seeds advance

On Margaret Court Arena, sixth seed Belinda Bencic defeated Jelena Ostapenko 7-5 7-5 while 19th seed Donna Vekic beat Alize Cornet in straight sets 6-4 6-2.

Svitolina's classy act

Props to Elina Svitolina, who has offered at least one fan a free tickets to her match against American Lauren Davis tonight.

The fifth seed took to Twitter to encourage a Twitter user, complaining she'd be unable to watch the Ukrainian, to message her so she could leave tickets for them at Margaret Court Arena.

Coco sprung in Open snub

Tennis legend Martina Navratilova outed teen sensation Coco Gauff for snubbing fellow great Justine Henin at Melbourne Park.

Gauff, 15, is through to the third round of the Australian Open and Navratilova couldn't help but laugh as she pointed out the young gun giving Henin the cold shoulder as they crossed paths in Melbourne.

"She didn't even look at you, I can't believe this!" Navratilova said on Eurosport, tongue planted firmly in cheek.

Henin replied: "I didn't even notice but it's normal she doesn't even recognise me because she wasn't born when I won here."

Henin won seven grand slams in her illustrious career including the 2004 Australian Open crown. Gauff was only born a couple of months later in March of that year – so it's hardly surprising she may not have recognised Henin.

"She looks into the camera. She doesn't look at you, it's amazing," Navratilova chuckled. "You should have stopped her and told her, 'Hey listen, I won seven grand slam titles'."

Serena's touching tribute

Serena Williams donated her prizemoney from winning the Auckland Open to Australia's bushfire appeal and she's paying tribute again in Melbourne.

The American superstar has taken to the court with koalas painted on two of her nails, showing her love for the furry Aussie favourite.

The fires that have ravaged the country have killed thousands of koalas

"Yeah, there's a koala on my nails. Those poor koala bears ," Williams said after her win over Tamara Zidansek on Wednesday.

In Auckland, Williams said: "I've been playing in Australia for over 20 years and it's been really hard for me to watch all the news.

"Everything that's been happening in Australia with all the fires and over a billion animals and people who have lost their homes."

Weird detail in Kyrgios tweet

Nick Kyrgios' love of the NBA is well known with the Aussie tennis star and Boston Celtics fan often preferring to play hoops rather than hit the practice court with a racquet.

And he's got some fans in the US. Golden State Warriors player D'Angelo Russell tweeted to Kyrgios yesterday saying he was "tuned in", and the Canberra product responded by saying he was also supporting the basketballer.

But there was something odd about the picture Russell used of Kyrgios in his tweet. It looked like the NBA star had taken a photo of him watching Kyrgios on TV, but down in the bottom left-hand corner, it revealed Kyrgios' opponent was Rafael Nadal.

Kyrgios defeated Lorenzo Sonego in straight sets in his first round match at the Australian Open, and hasn't played Nadal since Wimbledon last year.

But Russell's picture wasn't from the All England Club. It looked like it was taken from Kyrgios' win over Nadal in Acapulco, Mexico, earlier in 2019.

Maybe he didn't tune in to Kyrgios' most recent match but it's nice to know Russell is on the Aussie's side.

Roger admits unfair advantage

Roger Federer believes he had an unfair advantage in his second round win over Filip Krajinovic.

Roger Federer at the Australian Open. Photo / Photosport
Roger Federer at the Australian Open. Photo / Photosport

Federer demolished Krajinovic in straight sets in just 93 minutes on Wednesday night but was sympathetic towards his opponent's unforgiving schedule.

Federer played under the Rod Laver Arena roof on Monday, had Tuesday off, then came back for his second match on Wednesday – but Krajinovic wasn't so lucky to have as much time off.

The Serbian's match on Monday was scheduled for an outside court but was postponed because of rain, meaning he had to come back on Tuesday for a gruelling five-set encounter with Quentin Halys.

Krajinovic then had little time to recover ahead of his showdown with Federer, prompting the Swiss master to offer up some sympathetic words.

"At 0-40 and 5-1 I thought it wasn't 100 per cent fair that he played three-and-a-half hours yesterday and I played zero," Federer said.

"The rain helped me. I do feel a little bit sorry for him but you have to take advantage of it."

Preview of day four action

World No.1 Rafael Nadal and Nick Kyrgios remain on target for a tantalising fourth round tussle but still face some formidable obstacles as the Australian Open continues to unfold.

Nadal and Australia's 23rd seed could meet in the last 16 which would be their first encounter since Kyrgios purposely smashed a forehand at Nadal's chest as tempers boiled over during their explosive 2019 Wimbledon clash.

But Kyrgios says he's only thinking about Thursday's second round opponent, veteran Frenchman Gilles Simon, with the pair in action in the night session on Melbourne Arena.

Now ranked world No. 61, the former top 20 player showed his class with a round one straight sets win over Pablo Cuevas from Uruguay.

Nadal is the headline act in the night session on Rod Laver Arena and is likely to be too strong for Argentine Federico Delbonis, with the world No. 76 passing the first round at Melbourne Park only once before.

Fourth seed Simona Halep, who lost a heartbreaking 2018 Open final, precedes Nadal's night match when she takes on British qualifier Harriet Dart, who is making her first main draw appearance.

Australia's No. 2-ranked female player Ajla Tomljanovic opens the day's play on Rod Laver against two-time major winner, Spaniard Garbine Muguruza.

"It's going to be tough for me," Tomljanovic, the world No. 52, said. "Definitely a big-hitting match next round, for sure."

Local wildcard Alex Bolt will be out to emulate last year's third round showing when he takes on fifth-seeded Austrian Dominic Thiem, with their clash scheduled on Melbourne Arena before the Kyrgios match.

The pair haven't met before on the ATP tour.

"He's one of the best players in the world, I'm just looking forward to the opportunity to play him," Bolt said.

But Bolt felt he didn't need to change much to press Thiem.

"I feel like the way I play is going to take it to most players in the world and if I stick to my guns I'm going to cause him some grief," he said.

Organisers are hopeful that overnight forecast rain clears so they can keep the schedule on the outside courts on track.

Among those matches are Priscilla Hon, who plays her third match in three days after also squeezing in a women's doubles.

The Queensland wildcard takes on 2016 champion Angelique Kerber, who is now ranked 18.

Another wildcard, Victorian Arina Rodionova faces Dutch ninth seed Kiki Bertens. Lleyton Hewitt will partner Jordan Thompson in the opening round of the men's doubles.