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Auger-Aliassime beats Shapovalov in all-Canadian 3rd-round at Aussie Open

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Canadian men went two-for-three in their third-round matches at the Australian Open on Friday. The third lost as he played a fellow Canadian.

No. 20 Felix Auger-Aliassime beat No. 11 Denis Shapovalov in the all-Canadian match at Margaret Court Arena 7-5, 7-5, 6-3.

Shapovalov had won their two previous Grand Slam matches at the U.S. Open in 2018 and 2019. Auger-Aliassime says “he’s beaten me pretty badly a couple of times.”

Auger-Aliassime also reached the fourth round of last year’s U.S. Open. He plays Russian qualifier Aslan Karatsev next.

WATCH | Auger-Aliassime knocks of fellow Canadian Shapovalov at Aussie Open:

Felix Auger-Aliassime defeated Denis Shapovalov in straight sets 7-5, 7-5, 6-3 Friday in an all-Canadian battle during the third round of the Australian Open. 3:07

Canadian veteran Milos Raonic advanced to the fourth round at Melbourne Park for the eighth time by beating Marton Fucsovics of Hungary 7-6 (2), 5-7, 6-2, 6-2.

The 14th-seeded Raonic’s best performance at the Australian Open was reaching the semifinals in 2016.

WATCH | Milos Raonic reaches 4th round:

Milos Raonic of Thornhill, Ont., advanced to the fourth round of the Australia Open Friday after defeating Hungary’s Marton Fucsovics 7-6(2), 5-7, 6-2, 6-2. 1:28

Djokovic survives major scare

Top seed Novak Djokovic survived a major injury scare as he battled past American Taylor Fritz 7-6 (1) 6-4 3-6 4-6 6-2 to reach the fourth round.

Defending champion Djokovic, seeking a ninth title in Melbourne, looked in command when he took the opening two sets but began to suffer with a side injury early in the third set.

He needed to leave Rod Laver Arena to have treatment and was grimacing in pain at times as the 23-year-old Fritz took advantage to take the next two sets.

He was proud to survive but unsure whether he could continue his bid for a record-extending ninth title at Melbourne Park.

“I know it’s a tear, definitely, I don’t know if I’ll manage to recover from that in two days,” he said on court.

The crowd were removed midway through the fourth set as Melbourne’s new COVID-19 lockdown came into effect.

Osaka overcomes errors, still cruises

Naomi Osaka is back in the fourth round for the first time since her title run in 2019.

Osaka overcame 28 unforced errors and saved six of seven break points she faced in a 6-3, 6-2 win over 27th-seeded Ons Jabeur of Tunisia on Friday.

“I was really nervous and scared because I didn’t know if she was going to hit a drop shot on any ball,” Osaka said of playing Jabeur for the first time.

Osaka was stunned last year in the third round at Melbourne Park by then-15-year-old Coco Gauff. She has looked solid so far this year, dropping just 13 games in her first three matches.

Osaka and Serena Williams are the only two former Australian Open champions remaining in the draw after the losses by Sofia Kenin, Victoria Azarenka and Angelique Kerber.

She next faces another in-form player, two-time major winner Garbine Muguruza, who has lost even fewer games (10) en route to the fourth round.

Dominic Thiem produced a comeback for the ages to overhaul a fired-up Nick Kyrgios in a five-set classic at the Australian Open on Friday to send a baying crowd home in disappointment on the last night before a five-day lockdown in Melbourne.

In the bear-pit atmosphere of Kyrgios’s favorite John Cain Arena, U.S. Open champion Thiem dragged himself off the canvas to secure a thrilling 4-6 4-6 6-3 6-4 6-4 win over the Australian showman to reach the fourth round.

“That first match against Nick here on his favorite court with an amazing crowd, there are easier things to do,” said the Austrian third seed, who sealed the victory with a majestic backhand winner down the line.

“Surely that’s one of the toughest challenges in our sport.

“Tonight was epic and a good last match before the lock-down, it’s really sad to say.”

A cluster of COVID-19 cases in Melbourne means there will be no more crowds at the Australian Open for at least five days but the home crowd got their money’s worth, if not the desired winner.

Thiem was shell-shocked for the first two sets, barely able to lay a glove on Kyrgios who channeled the crowd’s energy to produce some electrifying tennis.

Theim rallies to beat Kyrgios

Dominic Thiem produced a comeback for the ages to overhaul a fired-up Nick Kyrgios in a five-set classic and send a baying crowd home in disappointment on the last night before a five-day lockdown in Melbourne.

In the bearpit atmosphere of Kyrgios’s favorite John Cain Arena, U.S. Open champion Thiem dragged himself off the canvas in a thrilling 4-6 4-6 6-3 6-4 6-4 win over the Australian showman to reach the fourth round.

The Austrian third seed was shellshocked for the first two sets, barely able to lay a glove on Kyrgios, who channeled the crowd’s energy to produce some electrifying tennis.

But Thiem transformed from timid to terrific as his serve revived, and he lived to set up a battle with Grigor Dimitrov for a quarter-final spot after sealing the match with a majestic backhand down the line.

While the tension in the stadium was relentless, it was also on a knife-edge outside the arena as police on horse-back dispersed a crowd of several hundred anti-lockdown demonstrators about an hour into the match.

Inside the arena, Kyrgios stormed to a two-set lead with an impish underarm ace.

Yet from there Thiem dug in grimly, and stole the momentum from the Australian’s hands by serving like a machine.

A frustrated Kyrgios smashed his racket into the court before surrendering the third set with a bungled ‘tweener’.

Suddenly it was the Australian’s back against the wall as a resurgent Thiem began wielding his racket like a wand.

In a moment of madness, Kyrgios bungled another ‘tweener’ rather than volley into an open court, squandering the chance for a 5-4 lead in the fourth set.

Thiem made him pay with three booming returns to break and at the change of ends an angst-filled Kyrgios fired a ball high into the terraces to lose an automatic point for a second code of conduct violation.

Moments later the match was level, as Kyrgios fired wide to concede the set.

Thiem bided his time before breaking Kyrgios at 3-3 in a nerve-shredding decider.

“That’s ridiculous,” Kyrgios said, after watching another Thiem winner sail past him before the Austrian knuckled down to serve out the match

Halep has easier round

Second-seeded Simona Halep cleaned up her game in the third round and spent far less time on court than her previous match.

Halep advanced to the fourth round by beating 32nd-seeded Veronika Kudermetova 6-1, 6-3 in 1 hour, 18 minutes.

The victory came one round after she struggled to find her rhythm in a more than 2 1/2-hour match against Ajla Tomljanovic.

The difference between the two matches was unforced errors. Halep hit 37 against Tomljanovic and only 12 against Kudermetova.

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