Australian Open Day 5: Kyrgios-Berdych, Djokovic on Margaret Court
Here are the matches to watch on Friday on Day 5 of the 2016 Australian Open in Melbourne. Play begins on all courts at 7 p.m. ET. Click here for the full order of play, and see the full TV schedule here.
Serena, Kyrgios take center stage on Rod Laver
Expect the Aussie crowd to be out in full force on Rod Laver on Friday night to see No. 29-seed Nick Kyrgios take on No. 6-seed Tomas Berdych.
Kyrgios and Berdych will face each other for the first time in their careers on Friday. To earn their third round meeting, Kyrgios topped Pablo Cuevas in straight sets and Berdych defeated qualifier Mirza Basic. Kyrgios has a 4–10 record against Top 10 players, while Berdych made the semifinals here last year.
“He has definitely a game to play a big matches, play with a big opponents,” Berdych said of Kyrgios. “He’s going to play aggressive. He's serving well. As I said, you know, it's a guy that he likes to have a big matches.”
“The crowd's going to be crazy,” Kyrgios said of Friday night’s match. “They all love Berdych. He has a massive fan base. He's one of the greatest players right now.”
In the first match of the night session, No. 1 Serena Williams will continue her title defense against 18-year-old Russian Daria Kasatkina, who beat 27th-seeded Anna Karolina Schmiedlova in the first round and Ana Konjuh in the second. She also has a win over Venus in Auckland this year.
“I don't think it's gonna be easy. Any time someone is beating Venus they are more than likely playing really good,” Serena said on Wednesday. “I obviously will ask Venus what she thought of the match, and I'm sure Patrick will know everything about her match and stuff. He's really good at studying.”
During the day session on Rod Laver, No. 12-seed Belinda Bencic will take on Ukraine’s Kateryna Bondarenko, who upset No. 23-seed Svetlana Kuznetsova in the second round. American Lauren Davis plays 5th-seeded Maria Sharapova in the second match followed by Roger Federer, who will take on Grigor Dimitrov to close out the day session.
Djokovic takes Margaret Court at night
Anyone with tickets to Margaret Court arena on Friday night will get to see No. 1 Novak Djokovic, who will take on No. 23-seed Andreas Seppi. Djokovic owns their head-to-head 11–0, but Seppi is a dangerous player, as he upset Federer in the same round in last year’s Australian Open.
“I think he deserves a lot of respect for the amounts of years that he spent in top 30. Very solid,” Djokovic said of Seppi. “He likes playing here. He's not really overwhelmed by a big occasion….It's going to be a tough one. I need to earn my points. I need to be ready for rallies. It's going to be physical match. But the way I've been playing, I have a lot of faith and confidence in my game.”
Guillermo Garcia-Lopez will play No. 7-seed Kei Nishikori to open the day on Margaret Court Arena, following by an all-French showdown between No. 9-seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Pierre-Hugues Herbert.
After beating Eugenie Bouchard on Wednesday, No. 4-seed Agnieszka Radwanska looks to continue her consistency and form against Monica Puig, who saved five match points and survived Kristyna Pliskova’s record 31 aces to advance.
In the final match of the night, No. 10-seed Carla Suarez Navarro plays 19-year-old Russian Elizaveta Kulichkova, who beat Monica Niculescu in the second round.
More matches to watch: Kristina Mladenovic vs. Daria Gavrilova (not before 1:30 a.m. ET, Hisense Arena); Dominic Thiem vs. David Goffin (first match, Hisense Arena); Marin Cilic vs. Roberto Bautista Agut (not before 2 a.m. ET, Show Court 2); Margarita Gasparyan vs. Yulia Putintseva (first match, Show Court 2); Federico Delbonis vs. Gilles Simon (third match, Hisense Arena); Anna-Lena Friedsam vs. Roberta Vinci (second match, Hisense Arena)