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Australian Open: Week one round-up

The Australian Open in Melbourne has reached the half-way marker, it's been a magnificent first week with some old-timers making the headlines – including the irrepressible Andy Murray.

Men's favourite Novak Djokovic is still very much in the mix despite some injury worries, but the demise of Iga Swiatek has blown the women's draw wide open.

We take a look back at the week one storylines from Melbourne Park. 

WhatAustralian Open
WhereMelbourne Park, Melbourne
WhenMonday 16th January – Sunday 29th January, 2023
How to watchNine and Stan Sport and bet365's Sports Live Streaming
Odds

Mens: Novak Djokovic 2.05, Stefanos Tsitsipas 3.75, Sebastian Korda 7.00, Holger Rune 9.00, Karen Khachanov 15.00

Womens: Jessica Pegula 4.33, Aryna Sabalenka 4.33, Elena Rybakina 4.50, Caroline Garcia 6.50, Belinda Bencic 10.00

Murray rolls back the years, Rafa's body struggles

Andy Murray and Rafael Nadal were part of the modern golden generation in men's tennis, forming a quartet of sheer brilliance alongside Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic.

Next Sunday, Djokovic may well equal Nadal's record of 22 Grand Slam career wins if he stays the course in Melbourne for an incredible ninth time.

The Majorcan's latest reign as champion at Melbourne Park ended prematurely in the second round with defeat by American Mackenzie McDonald in straight sets. Nadal's movement looked heavily restricted and, for many, it was to his credit that he finished the match.

The 36-year-old's hip has become a problem and there's plenty speculation now that he will join Federer in retirement before too long.

Murray is no stranger to hip ailments and the Scot – now 35 – could easily have retired himself by now. 

He famously lost five Australian Open final in seven years from 2010, and it's improbable his quest for glory here will ever be satisfied now, but Murray remains a deeply popular figure at this event and this week he showed why.

Murray's second-round triumph over Thanasi Kokkinakis was one for the history books, finishing just after 04:00 local time after lasting five hours and 45 minutes. The three-time Grand Slam champ showcased his magnificent resilience and the defensive rally he eventually won in set two after some outlandish chasing is worth looking up on YouTube. 

He was unlucky to be around in the Federer/Nadal/Djokovic era but with two wins at Wimbledon and one in the US Open, Murray's status in the game is not in doubt. This week he gave the Melbourne crowd a reminder of what made him great, winning two five-setters before bowing to Roberto Bautista Agut.

Hamstring worries for Novak

Djokovic, now 2.05 to win outright, is hoping to win a men's record-equalling 22nd Grand Slam title at Melbourne Park and it seems his to lose after a large number of seeds fell in the early rounds.

The likes of Nadal, Casper Ruud and Daniil Medvedev have exited the tournament in week one but the threat to Djokovic's title ambition could be his hamstrings.

The nine-time champion required a medical timeout in his third round win over Bulgarian 27th seed Grigor Dimitrov.

He picked up the injury before the tournament and opted not to train on Friday to rest it, the 35-year-old insisting 'every point, every game mattered' to his ailing body.

He's been sporting heavy strapping on his left thigh and home hopes of an upset will be on Australian 22nd seed Alex de Minaur in round four, where he's 4.50 to upset Djokovic.

Swiatek defeat leaves door wide open

Top seed Iga Swiatek was making fairly serene progress until she clashed with Wimbledon champion Elena Rybakina in the fourth round on Sunday.

Rybakina, seeded 22nd, had struggled to replicate the displays which saw her win at the All England Club in July but she produced a confident and powerful performance to dismiss the Pole in straight sets and blow the womens draw wide open.

That feeling was compounded within 30 minutes as Coco Gauff lost 7-5 6-3 to Jelena Ostapenko.

Seeded seventh, Gauff was looked on by many as a massive contender for the title in Melbourne but the 17th seed from Latvia had her number. 

Now, Rybakina, just 23, will play former French Open champion Ostapenko in the quarter-finals on Tuesday instead of the match-up between Swiatek and Gauff that many predicted.

Rybakina has gone in as 1.44 favourite to follow up her win over Swiatek, with Ostapenko priced at 2.75.

Sunday was a good day for third seed Jessica Pegula, now the highest-ranked player left in the women's draw, as she came through 7-5 6-2 against Czech Barbora Krejcikova while those other big names were crashing out.

The American, now 4.33 to win outright, has never been beyond the last-eight at a Grand Slam event and could face two-time Melbourne champion Victoria Azarenkain in the quarter-finals here.

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