SAN DIEGO, January 19, 2013 – When Great Britain’s Andy Murray returned home to Dunblane, Scotland after winning the Olympic gold medal in tennis and the first Grand Slam championship by a British player in 76 years at the U.S. Open, he was hailed as a national hero. Fifteen thousand people lined the streets to greet him.
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Murray hopes to carry his success through to 2013, starting at the Australian Open. But it won’t be easy. He has made it to the Round of 16, defeating a tenacious Ricardas Berankis of Lithuania, 6-3, 6-4, 7-5.
The Round of 16, the fourth round, is where it gets enjoyable to watch for most fans with the well-known players rising to the top.
Number one seed Novak Djokovic, who hopes to be the first player in the Open era to win three straight Australian Open titles, joins Murray. He will play fifteenth ranked Stanislas Wawrinka in the evening session, 3 a.m. EST on ESPN2 for those who want to pull an all-nighter to watch the inevitable.
In his way along with Murray is Roger Federer, who had little trouble with his third round opponent, defeating the last remaining Australian player in the tournament, 20-year-old Bernard Tomic, 6-4, 7-6 (5), 6-1.
Also remaining on the men’s side are four French players: Jo-Wilifried Tsonga, Richard Gasquet, Gilles Simon, and Jeremy Chardy, along with Milos Raonic, Stanislas Wawrinka, David Ferrer, Andreas Seppi, Kei Nishikori. Nicolas Almagro and. Janko Tipsarevic.
The women’s singles competition retains more American flavor. Number three Serena Williams has breezed through her competition so far, defeating Japan’s Ayuma Morita 6-1, 6-3. During the match she hit a 128 MPH serve, equally her career best set earlier in the tournament. To win her third consecutive Grand Slam title, she will have to top number one seed Victoria Azarenka, number two Maria Sharapova, and a tough field including a rising American star, 19-year-old Sloane Stephens. Stephens advanced to the round of 16 by defeating Laura Robson of Great Britain, 7-5, 6-3. She is the only teenager left in the women’s singles competition.
Also remaining in the Round of 16: fourth seed Agnieszka Radwanska, Kirsten Flipkens, Ana Ivanovic, Elena Vesnina, Maria Kirilenko, French Open winner Svetlana Kuznetsova, former number one ranked Caroline Wozniacki, Serbia’s Bojana Jovanovski (who will play Stephens), German players Angelique Kerber and Julie Goerges, Ekaterina Makarova, and Li Na of China.
Doubles play has also gotten underway. Serena Williams and older sister Venus won their second-round double match. Number one ranked brothers Bob and Mike Bryan of the U.S. play tonight at 8:30 p.m. EST.
Tonight’s schedule begins at 7 p.m. EST, with the night session at 3 a.m. EST Sunday. For tennis fans and sports fans who are night owls, it’s part of what makes the Australian Open fun to watch. Key matches are shown on ESPN2 live; others air on ESPN3. The networks reserve the right to switch to capture the best of the action.
In the Rod Laver Arena at 7 p.m. EST:
Angelique Kerber (5), Germany, vs. Ekaterina Makarova (19), Russia (ESPN3)
David Ferrer (4), Spain, vs. Kei Nishikori (16), Japan (ESPN2, 9 p.m. EST)
Kirsten Flipkens, Belgium, vs. Maria Sharapova (2), Russia (ESPN3)
Night Session at 3 a.m. EST:
Ana Ivanovic (13), Serbia, vs. Agnieszka Radwanska (4), Poland (ESPN3)
Novak Djokovic (1), Serbia, vs. Stanislas Wawrinka (15), Switzerland (ESPN2)
Hisense Arena at 7 p.m. EST:
Mansour Bahrami, Iran, and Wayne Ferreira, South Africa, vs. Jacco Eltingh and Paul Haarhuis, Netherlands (ESPN3)
Not before 8:30 p.m. EST:
Bob and Mike Bryan (1), United States, vs. Jeremy Chardy, France, and Lukasz Kubot, Poland (ESPN3)
Nicolas Almagro (10), Spain, vs. Janko Tipsarevic (8), Serbia (ESPN3)
Li Na (6), China, vs. Julia Goerges (18), Germany (ESPN2)
The Associated Press contributed to this story.
Gayle Lynn Falkenthal, APR, is President/Owner of the Falcon Valley Group in San Diego, California. She writes on professional cycling and covers the Sweet Science for Communities, along with other news in the sports world. Read Ringside Seat in the Communities at The Washington Times. Follow Gayle on Facebook and on Twitter @PRProSanDiego.
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