Thursday January 8th, 2015

Introducing Instant Replay, a recap of the best highlights, GIFs and photos as we move into the business end of this week's tournaments. 

With play spread out across all over the world -- New Zealand? Check. Western and eastern Australia? Check. India? Check. The Middle East? Check. China? Check. -- you were excused if you spend the early part of the week discombobulated.

But you weren't as discombobulated as Andy Murray, who somehow found himself on the receiving end of an Alize Cornet ace at Hopman Cup in Perth:

Being the champion of equal rights that he is, Murray responded by acing her right back and mimicking her celebration:

[youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FvE7AiUP2V4]

The American team of Serena Williams and John Isner needed a little jolt to snap themselves out of their jetlag in Perth. Serena did it by taking a quick nip of coffee during her match against Flavia Pennetta:

[youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nz_hxm-_3UY]

While Isner did it by getting a jolt of adrenaline thanks to Pennetta's well-placed return:

[youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z8MXNU9Tv-8=6]

Somehow, despite Serena's erratic play -- she won just three games off Eugenie Bouchard -- and Isner's loss to Vasek Pospisil, the Americans advanced to the Hopman Cup final. It must have been in the cards, because they even survived this fantastic overhead attempt:

[youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bj-Ik-awbYc]

Their final opponent has yet to be decided, but Team Poland is in pole position -- get it? -- for the spot. It's the final we are hoping for, just so we can get a few more installments of the Aga and Jerzy old-married couple stand-up routine:

[youtube=http://youtu.be/C2UmCy0uEd4]

Rafael Nadal continued to struggle with his in-match consistency, losing to No. 127 Michael Berrer 1-6, 6-3, 6-4. Let's hold off on pressing the panic button. He can still hit shots like this:

[youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=edFQ5nPf4VE]

Things were far less wonky at the Brisbane International, where Federer headlined the field and was his usual, boring, Swiss self. Just kidding. He played tennis with Spongebob and Dora:

[youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XEsHN5wWlck​]

He also spent the week hanging out with dolphins and koalas, while also casually practicing all those trick shots that leave our mouths gaping:

(Gif credit)

 

Federer needed three sets to defeat No. 153 John Millman, but it's been otherwise smooth sailing for all the top ATP seeds in Brisbane, except for Grigor Dimitrov had to save two match points to beat Jeremy Chardy. And Kei Nishikori did come face to face with this guy:

SAEED KHAN/AFP/Getty Images

The Aussies may have another young star on their hands in Thanasi Kokkinakis. The 18-year-old beat Julien Benneteau in Brisbane and is in the semifinals of the doubles with Grigor Dimitrov. Get a glimpse of his game (and amazing hair) here:

[youtube=http://youtu.be/JEggfAY8Ohg]

As for the ladies, Maria Sharapova and Ana Ivanovic have made good of their seedings to make the semifinals. But there have been upsets aplenty. Last year's Australian Open finalist Dominika Cibulkova hit this great backhand pass, but otherwise looked overmatched in a decisive loss to Madison Keys.

[youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eiOIhiSMdVQ]

Karolina Pliskova was actually the higher-ranked player when she took on two-time Australian Open champion Victoria Azarenka, and the young Czech showed her backhand is one of the sweetest swings in the game when she saved match point to win.

[youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oDd9p44xs2w]

Andrea Petkovic got blasted off the court by the talented but enigmatic Kaia Kanepi in her first match, but she did show some nice touch before being sent off:

[youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AW2tIoen8gU]

But the woman who has looked in the best form in Brisbane? Chair umpire Marija Cicak. She has been on her game:

But so has Mohammed Lahyani, who showed some quick reflexes in this catch:

[youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1h24YGs-Rww]

Over in Auckland, Caroline Wozniacki and Venus Williams are cruising towards a possible clash in the final. Will the ASB Classic bring out its furry and adorable internet-breaking ball-dogs? Venus would approve:

[youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QK_83cnHbE4]

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