After a day off following a COVID positive, it’ll be a jam-packed Friday at Melbourne Park, with matches packed in and some stars to pull double duty. Follow live below!
In an attempt to complete all of the lead-up tournaments, women’s matches have been cut down to best-of-twos with a 10-point match tiebreak if required.
Meanwhile in the ATP Cup, Novak Djokovic’s Serbia is fighting for a spot in the semi-finals, while Spain has advanced despite Rafael Nadal’s absence.
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KYRGIOS HURT BUT PLAYING ON AFTER BARTY SURVIVES
Nick Kyrgios is battling Croatia’s Borna Coric in the third round of the Murray River Open, and it’ll be a quick turnaround for the victor.
After featuring in the second match on 1573 Arena, either Kyrgios or Coric will play their quarter-final, against either Marcus Giron or Daniel Evans, in the fourth match on the same court.
Kyrgios was notably wincing early in the match, giving up the first break to trail 2-4.
“Not an overly invested game there from Kyrgios. He doesn’t seem too into it, really,” one of the commentators said.
The problem was Kyrgios’ left leg, which was wrapped up. The Canberran needs to land on the leg when he serves but doing so is clearly causing him issues.
At times the leg also limited his mobility during points, seeing Kyrgios take a risk by trying to serve winners even on his second serve.
World No.1 Ash Barty survived the first match tiebreak of the revamped Australian Open lead-in tournaments, setting up a potential showdown with Serena Williams.
In an attempt to save time, women’s matches at Melbourne Park have been cut to two sets with a 10-point match tiebreak if required from Friday onwards.
So when Barty claimed the opening set over America’s Shelby Rogers but dropped the second, it was all about a tiebreak to decide her Yarra Valley Classic fate.
But Barty shone under pressure, earning three breaks in the first seven points and ending up the 7-5 2-6 [10-4] victor.
Barty will face either Serena Williams or Danielle Collins, who feature in the third match on Show Court 1, in the semi-finals.
The second match is a replay of last year’s Australian Open final with Sofia Kenin battling Garbine Muguruza.
A short time after Barty’s victory, Thompson prevailed 6-4 6-4 over world no.188 Mario Vilella Martinez to proceed to the quarter-finals of the Great Ocean Road Open.
Thompson, currently ranked 52nd in the world, will face Brazilian Thiago Monteiro next.
Australia’s Alex Bolt will face former Australian Open champion Stan Wawrinka in the third match on 1573 Arena, with the winner’s quarter-final taking place later today.
Other Aussies in action today include Alexei Popyrin against Grigor Dimitrov and James Duckworth against Corentin Moutet.
Positive COVID test won’t stop Aus Open
NO RAFA BUT SPAIN INTO SEMIS, DJOKER LEADS SERBIAN CHARGE
Novak Djokovic must beat Alexander Zverev to keep Serbia in the ATP Cup.
Germany moved 1-0 up in the tie after Dusan Lajovic, replacing Filip Krajinovic (back injury) lost to Jan-Lennard Struff 3-6 6-3 6-4.
If Djokovic prevails it will be up to the doubles to decide who qualifies top of their group.
Rafael Nadal has again sat out the ATP Cup but it hasn’t stopped Spain from qualifying for the semi-finals for a second straight year.
Pablo Carreno Busta’s win over Michail Pervolarakis put the Spaniards 1-0 up in their tie against Greece, and guaranteed their spot in the playoff rounds.
Australia was already eliminated heading into Friday’s play, while Greece needed to win the tie 3-0 to advance.
Nadal sat out with a back injury which has cast a shadow over his hopes of a record-setting 21st Grand Slam title at the Australian Open.
The world number two also missed Spain’s opening clash with Australia on Tuesday.
“I’m not well enough to play. I’m improving bit by bit, but I’m not ready to play a match with maximum intensity,” Nadal told Spanish broadcaster Vamos.
Nadal hasn’t played a competitive match since the semi-finals of the ATP Finals in London on November 21. His only appearance since was an exhibition match against Dominic Thiem in Adelaide on Friday.
Nadal had an extra day to recuperate on Thursday after all matches in the warm-up events for the Australian Open were postponed after a COVID-19 case at a tournament hotel.
In the night session Austria faces France. Neither nation can qualify for the playoff stages having both already lost to Group C victor Italy.
– with AFP
Australia nab ATP victory
NOTABLE MATCHES AND ORDER OF PLAY – FRIDAY FEBRUARY 5
Day session – from 10am
Serbia v Germany – Rod Laver Arena
No.2 singles: Jan-Lennard Struff (GER) def Dusan Lajovic (SRB) 3-6 6-3 6-4
No.1 singles: Novak Djokovic (SRB) v Alexander Zverev (GER)
Doubles: Nikola Cacic and Dusan Lajovic (SRB) v Kevin Krawietz and Andreas Mies (GER)
Spain v Greece – John Cain Arena
No.2 singles: Pablo Carreno Busta (ESP) def Michail Pervolarakis (GRE) 6-3 6-4
No.1 singles: Roberto Bautista Agut (ESP) v Stefanos Tsitsipas (GRE) 5-7
Doubles: Pablo Carreno Busta and Marcel Granollers (ESP) v Michail Pervolarakis and Stefanos Tsitsipas (GRE)
Night session – from 5:30pm
Austria v France – Rod Laver Arena
No.2 singles: Dennis Novak (AUT) v Benoit Paire (FRA)
No.1 singles: Dominic Thiem (AUT) v Gael Monfils (FRA)
Doubles: Philipp Oswald and Tristan-Samuel Weissborn (AUT) v Nicholas Mahut and Edouard Roger-Vasselin (FRA)
YARRA VALLEY CLASSIC
Show Court 1
Ash Barty (AUS)  def Shelby Rogers (USA) 7-5 2-6 [10-4]
Garbine Muguruza (ESP)  v Sofia Kenin (USA)  6-2
Danielle Collins (USA)  v Serena Williams (USA) 
MURRAY RIVER OPEN
Borna Coric (CRO)  v Nick Kyrgios (AUS) 
Stan Wawrinka (SUI)  v Alex Bolt (AUS)
After suitable rest
(Winner of Coric v Kyrgios) v (Winner of Marcus Giron (USA) v Daniel Evans (GBR) )
After suitable rest
(Winner of Wawrinka v Bolt) v (Winner of Jeremy Chardy (FRA) v Taylor Fritz (USA) )
Third match: Alexei Popyrin (AUS) v Grigor Dimitrov (BUL) 
Not before 12pm: James Duckworth (AUS) v Corentin Moutet (FRA)
GREAT OCEAN ROAD OPEN
Jordan Thompson (AUS)  def Mario Vilella Martinez (ESP) 6-4 6-4
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