By Britwatch Tennis
- Andy Murray advanced to fourth round amidst the drama of father-in-law Nigel Sears collapsing while watching Ana Ivanovic
- Johanna Konta advanced to her second Slam fourth round in a row
- Doubles success too for Dom Inglot, Jamie Murray, Jocelyn Rae and Anna Smith
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA – Tennis became unimportant as drama unfolded in the night matches at the Australian Open on day six of the tournament, as Andy Murray‘s father-in-law Nigel Sears, coach to Ana Ivanovic, collapsed while watching her in her third round match.
As Ana Ivanovic won the first set in her third round match against Madison Keys, Sears went to leave the court after feeling unwell, before collapsing in the stands. It was the second time in as many matches that Ivanovic’s match had been suspended due to a medical emergency, as a distressed Ivanovic looked on. The players were led off court as it was announced that the match would be suspended indefinitely with Ivanovic in tears at the news that her coach had suffered a suspected heart attack.
Murray had also taken the first set, but suffered a dip in his form as the drama was unfolding in the court next door. His match continued, and in due course it was announced that Ivanovic and Keys would resume, amidst news filtering in that Sears had been conscious, sitting up and speaking.
At one stage both Murray and Ivanovic had built up a 3-0 lead in their respective, possibly decisive sets, but the story ended very differently for the Serb. While Murray edged Sousa into the fourth round 6-2 3-6 6-2 6-2, Keys mounted a comeback once more and Ivanovic’s defences crumbled, sending the American into the fourth round for the second year running 4-6 6-4 6-4.
Earlier in the day, Johanna Konta matched her achievement of last year’s great run at the US Open by reaching the fourth round here in Melbourne. Against a strapped up Allertova, Konta got off to a swift start and did not look back as she broke serve straight away, staying that nudge ahead before delivering another blow to serve out the set.
In a way that speaks to our inner OCD, there was a pleasing symmetry to the way Konta started the second set in exactly the same way, albeit with Allertova a little more dialed in as she saved two break points before handing an immediate break once more to the Brit.
Konta was seeing the ball like a football, under the roof in Hisense after rain in the morning once more threatened to derail the schedule, and she explained how she had to adjust to the new dynamics in her post-match press conference:
“I’m obviously very pleased with the results of that. I’m more happy with just how I was able to handle the situation out there. It wasn’t easy.
“Obviously the court plays differently when the roof is closed. She’s a very tough player. I’m happy I was able to really just hold down and take care of things on my end and just keep fighting.
“It was just a bit different. Just obviously the acoustics are different. Everything is a little bit different. It’s a good thing, though. It means I wasn’t delayed. That’s great. That’s the main thing: we got to go on time and practice on time. That was all good.”
She was out again later in the day with Heather Watson to face the all-British pairing of Jocelyn Rae and Anna Smith, but the doubles specalists proved more than a match for the British No. 1 and 2 as they bowed out to their Fed Cup team mates, 6-2 6-3.
There will be another clash of Brits in the men’s doubles third round after Jamie Murray and Bruno Soares advanced to a meeting against Dom Inglot and Robert Lindstedt. There was further success for Murray as he partnered Katarina Srebotnik to a mixed doubles win as well.
But it was a night where perhaps tennis had to take a backseat while the drama unfolded.
The fourth round matches for Murray and Konta will be scheduled for Monday.
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