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Other SportsAustralian Open 2024, Day eight: Preview, how to watch, order of play...

Australian Open 2024, Day eight: Preview, how to watch, order of play and predictions

The headliners

No Australian man has won the Australian Open title since Mark Edmondson beat John Newcombe in an all-Aussie final back in 1976.

However, in 10th seed Alex de Minaur, the Melbourne Park crowd may feel they have a home favourite capable of enjoying a deep run at the event this year.

De Minaur went 3-1 for Australia at the United Cup around the turn of the year, posting a statement victory over Novak Djokovic at that event, and he has kept that form going at the first grand slam of 2024.

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The Australian number one swept Italian qualifier Flavio Cobolli aside for a straight-sets victory on John Cain Arena on Friday, and his reward is a headline clash with fifth seed Andrey Rublev in Sunday’s night session, with a quarter-final place at stake.

“This is where I want to be, and this is where the tail end of the tournament starts, the second week of slams,” De Minaur said.

“I’ve always been told the first week of the slam is about getting through however you want, and the second week is when you start to play your real tennis.”

In Sunday’s day session, Djokovic continues his quest to surpass Margaret Court’s record of 24 grand slam titles when he faces France’s Adrian Mannarino.

Djokovic was taken to four sets by both Dino Prizmic and Alexei Popyrin in his first two matches at the tournament, but he found the going far easier in the third round as he cruised past Tomas Martin Etcheverry in straight sets.

Djokovic described his performance in that match as his best at Melbourne Park this year, but he faces a potential banana skin next time out against Mannarino, who downed Stan Wawrinka in the first round before overcoming 16th seed Ben Shelton in a gruelling four-hour battle on Friday.

Mannarino has lost all four of his previous tour-level meetings with Djokovic. Can he dig deep to trouble the 10-time Australian Open champion on Sunday?

The subplots

Elsewhere, two of the major contenders for the women’s crown are in action, having surely been buoyed by Iga Swiatek’s surprise elimination.

Czech teenager Linda Noskova recovered from a set down to stun world number one Swiatek in the third round on Saturday, leaving Aryna Sabalenka and Coco Gauff as the two favourites to clinch the title.

Defending champion Sabalenka has so far enjoyed a serene defence of her crown, only dropping six games in her three matches and crushing world number 33 Lesia Tsurenko 6-0 6-0 last time out.

She will expect another routine win when she takes to Margaret Court Arena to face Amanda Anisimova, with the American ranked a lowly 442nd in the world by the WTA.

Gauff has been almost as dominant as Sabalenka, beating Anna Karolina Schmiedlova, Caroline Dolehide and Alycia Parks in straight sets to reach this stage. Poland’s Magdalena Frech is up next for the US Open champion on Sunday.

Back on the men’s side, world number four Jannik Sinner has yet to be troubled at Melbourne Park, but his clash with 15th seed Karen Khachanov – who reached the semi-finals of the 2023 Australian Open – promises to be his sternest test yet.

Order of Play – selected matches

Day session (from 01:00 UK time)

Magdalena Frech v Coco Gauff

Taylor Fritz v Stefanos Tsitsipas

Amanda Anisimova v Aryna Sabalenka

Novak Djokovic v Adrian Mannarino

Mirra Andreeva v Barbora Krejcikova

Jannik Sinner v Karen Khachanov

Night session (from 08:00 UK time)

Alex de Minaur v Andrey Rublev

When and how to watch

The Australian Open is available to watch live on Discovery+ and Eurosport in the United Kingdom, with the day’s singles action getting under way from 01:00 UK time on Sunday morning. The night session is scheduled to take place from 08:00.

Predictions

A thrilling end to Sunday’s play could be in store as De Minaur looks to extend his longest run at his home major. He has won three of his five career meetings with Rublev and has moved well throughout this tournament, so he may be worth backing to win a close affair in five sets.

Mannarino’s third-round exertions will surely catch up with him against Djokovic, while the likes of Sabalenka, Gauff and Sinner will expect to progress.

Meanwhile, 16-year-old sensation Andreeva – who conquered Ons Jabeur earlier in the tournament – could be set to claim another scalp when she faces ninth seed Krejcikova, with a potential quarter-final against Sabalenka on the line.

Harry Carr
Harry Carr
Harry is a freelance sports journalist with experience of working for the Racing Post, Stats Perform, Opta Analyst and more, covering major events across all sports but holding a particular love for the beautiful game.
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