Australian Open 2013 day six

Laura Robson loses to Sloane Stephens after wins for Andy Murray, Victoria Azarenka and Serena Williams

19 January 2013 Last updated at 08:35 GMT

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As it happened

  1. 0832: 

    Next up for Sloane Stephens, the 29th seed, is either Bojana Jovanovski of Serbia or Kimito Date-Krumm of Japan. I'm about to do the old switcheroo, join me for Federer-Tomic on another page coming your way soon...

    GAME, SET AND MATCH- Robson 5-7 3-6 Stephens

    The crowd well behind Robson now and we're about to find out what Sloane Stephens is made of - concrete or sand? Robson moves into a 0-30 lead before Stephens pulls out a boomer for 15-30. First double fault of the set by Stephens makes it 15-40... saves the first with a wrong-footing forehand and saves the second as Robson fails to capitalise on her ascendancy in the rally and ends up being lollipopped at the net. From two break points to a match point and that is ballsier than a bumper bucket of balls by Robson, scrambliig all over the baseline before Stephens puts a volley into the net. Stephens carves out a second match point and this time Robson hoicks a forehand well wide.

    Robson 5-7 3-5 Stephens*

    Robbo serving to stay in the match. Smashing hooked forehand pass by Robson for 30-0, Stephens claws her way back to 30-30, Robson shows some spunk to rally her way to 40-30. Stephens with an inside-out forehand for deuce - for a smallish woman, she packs a punch when the mood takes her - but Robson battles for the hold. Stephens serving for the match...

    *Robson 5-7 2-5 Stephens

    Robson getting stuck into the Stephens serve and she makes it 0-15 with a ballsy drive-volley. But that's a crackerjack backhand pass by Stephens for 40-15 and she wraps things up with alacrity. Home hero Tomic has been broken in his first service game, Federer leads 2-0 on Rod.

    Robson 5-7 2-4 Stephens*

    Roger Federer and Bernard Tomic are out on Rod Laver Arena, playing the first game now. As soon as this is done I'll be bringing you ball-by-ball from that one. Stephens plonks a forehand long before Robson puts away an angled backhand winner for the hold. The Englishwoman not out of this just yet.

    *Robson 5-7 1-4 Stephens

    Forty-three unforced errors by Robson in this match, although it is clear that shoulder is giving her a bit of gip. Stephens a very neat and tidy operator and she races into a 40-0 lead on her own serve. Robson nicks a point back but Stephens wraps up the game with a coruscating forehand winner. Robson in a hole and I'm not sure she's got a shovel big enough.

    Robson 5-7 1-3 Stephens*

    No great mystery about Sloane Stephens, she just kind of stays there, but that's a great shot by Robson, an angled cross-court forehand winner for 30-30. Stephens with a break point, the first of the second set, but that's a fine volley by Robson for deuce. Stephens changing it up with a knifed drop-shot and Robson can't do anything with it. Wild and windy and into the net by Stephens, from a lollipop second serve, but the American is unable to take a third break point, Robson has now saved seven in the match. Robson too hesitant, finds herself in no-man's land, pops a half-volley into the net...

    *Robson 5-7 1-2 Stephens

    Robson into the net with an attempted forehand down the line but that's tremendous scrambling from the British number two, putting up the garage door from about three feet behind the baseline before nailing her rival with some meaty forehands and putting away the drive-volley. Ace Stephens, the American wins the game... Kohlschreiber and Raonic 4-4 in their first set, over on Show Court 3...

    Robson 5-7 1-1 Stephens*

    Women's 10th seed Caroline Wozniacki is serving for the match against Lesia Tsurenko of Ukraine on Hisense, in fact she's just won. Ever noticed how Wozniacki and Rory McIlroy never play well at the same time? Bit weird that. Robson taken to deuce on her own delivery before she finds a good second serve into the body... Stephens hooks a forehand wide, game Robson...

    *Robson 5-7 0-1 Stephens

    Morning all and many thanks to Mike Henson - a manful man doing a manful shift. Ben Dirs here as Stephens takes a 40-30 lead on serve but that's some chunky hitting from behind the baseline from the Brit and she finishes the rally off with a forehand that skims the sideline. Late call on the next point, immediately overruled, it remains deuce. Irritation for Robson and it gets worse as Stephens puts away an off-forehand for the advantage. Robson hits back on the next point, taking the ball nice and early, but Stephens holds her nerve.

    GAME AND FIRST SET- Robson 5-7 Stephens*

    Having got her claws into it after a sluggish start, the set slips out of Laura Robson as she fires wide with a big forehand at 30-40 down. That power was alloyed with accuracy in games five to eight, but the mixture has come unstuck in the white heat of the business end of the set. Ben Dirs is here to take you through the remainder. Bye from me.

    *Robson 5-6 Stephens

    Sloane Stephens looks like she is in for an easy hold at 40-0 but Laura Robson manages to tweak up the pressure with a couple of points against the head. She has a chance to take the issue a little further but when invited forward into mid court, the Briton punches into the net.

    Robson 5-5 Stephens*

    A lovely looping roundhouse forehand from Robson finds its mark for 30-15, but Stephens is a canny streetwise sort. She latches onto one that is a little short after dragging Robson from pillar to post to help herself to a break and set point. Robson is really walloping the ball now though and sees it off. The Briton twice forces game point as Stephens struggles to cope with the spice on some of these groundstrokes. Twice she is knocked back. Stephens grinds out a second set point. Robson snatches it straight back and finally crushes Stephens with a couple more rippers. On we go. Tight as Michael Owen's hamstrings in this one.

    Bethanie Mattek-Sands, BBC Radio 5 live

    "Sloane is another player that rips the ball. Her forehand in her strength. If Laura wants to get into this match then she has to get at her backhand."

    *Robson 4-5 Stephens

    This is brewing up nicely. Stephens outfoxes Robson with a bit of slice for 40-15, but then finds her second serve given the full treatment as a return fires across her bows for a winner. Perhaps with that in mind, the American over-cooks to produce a double fault. Deuce, but Stephens pulls her game together and her first ace of the match finally gets the scoreboard ticking on for her again.

    Robson 4-4 Stephens*

    Laura Robson is firmly in the driving seat now. She looks like she has come to terms with the fact that Stephens is going to chase down one more ball than she might expect and is just going to keep hammering away regardless. She holds for the loss of just one point. Over to you Sloane.

    *Robson 3-4 Stephens

    I'll have some of what the courtside doctor is handing out please. There is some sting in the strings now for Laura Robson. The medical time-out seems to have perked up her play as she clubs her way to 0-30 with some lashing forehands. The Briton loads up again at 30-30 but her forehand out wide flies a little long. Robson has a break point from deuce as Stephens screws a regulation mid-court ball into the net and the Briton stretches Stephens out of shape at the back of the court.

    Robson 2-4 Stephens*

    A double fault to begin for Robson, but the shoulder certainly looks like it is working well enough as she bruises some beefy groundstrokes and then pumps down an unreturnable serve to move to 30-15. Another double pegs her back to 40-30 and brings back memories of her shoddy serving in victory over Petra Kvitova last time out. But Robson is into her groove at the back of the court and eventually she runs the legs out of Stephens to take the game.

  19. 0706: 

    Laura Robson is back out on court to serve.

  20. 0704: 

    Laura Robson gets stretched into various painful poses by the courtside doctor as she attempts to assess the extent of her shoulder problem. A three-minute injury time-out follows as the doctor's fingers plunge into the muscles around the joint. It doesn't look too clever for the Briton, it could be some sort of spasm. In my expert opinion.

    *Robson 1-4 Stephens

    Laura Robson manages to set herself a little more steady at the back of the court to move onto 15-30 and then a double fault from Sloane Stephens gives her two break points. More forceful hitting as she jags a backhand out wide, and Stephens skids out of play, means that Robson has a break of serve as a little lotion for her gippy shoulder.

    Robson 0-4 Stephens*

    A little painful to watch and a little painful to play by the looks of it. Sloane Stephens breaks to love as Laura Robson pushes her luck too far attempting to get deep on her groundstrokes and stem the flow of the American's winners. Robson is wincing with a left shoulder problem and signals that she would like some medical attention after the next game.

    *Robson 0-3 Stephens

    Laura Robson is Melbourne-born and she is getting plenty of support from the home crowd. A lot of the shouts sound a little concerned though as she heads back to her chair after Stephens has just mullered another groundstroke past her for a 3-0 lead. There have been a few nice shots from the Briton but Stephens has made a flying start.

    Robson 0-2 Stephens*

    Sloane Stephens trots her way around the court at a heck of a clip and she recovers one more ball than Laura Robson expects and lassoos away a forehand to give herself a platform at 30-30. Robson sees off a break point as she cranks down a big serve out wide and then another big one down the middle gives the Briton a sight of home. Stephens is chomping at anything short, though, and a fierce forehand followed by a miscue by Robson gives her a second pop at break point. Robson dominates as she comes forward to swat away the danger but she is undone on a third break point as she is outmuscled by Stephens from the back of the court.

    *Robson 0-1 Stephens

    Laura Robson looks in need of a few looseners. A woeful attempt to return curls well wide to give Sloane Stephens 30-0, before a double fault at 40-0 finally gives Robson a chance to get her teeth into a rally. The Briton swaps forceful groundstrokes, before cracking one into the top of the net.

  26. 0639: 

    Andreas Seppi's win on Court Two means that it is time for Laura Robson's match against the American Sloane Stephens. The pair, the highest-ranked teenagers in the world, are about to begin. Stephens to serve.

  27. 0637: 

    Andy Murray does not look like a man in love with his game, but maybe the fate of two of his potential last-eight opponents will lighten his mood.

    Sixth seed Juan Martin del Potro has fallen victim to Jeremy Chardy in five sets, 6-3 6-3 6-7 (3-7) 3-6 6-3, while Marin Cilic has been beaten in five sets by Italy's Andreas Seppi.

    Murray will face the winner of Gilles Simon and Gael Monfils next, but neither Chardy or Seppi would normally be Grand Slam quarter-final opposition.

    Piers Newbery, BBC Sport at Melbourne Park

    "Murray regularly uses Berankis as a hitting partner and he got a decent workout from the Lithuanian on Rod Laver Arena. Berankis is far better than his ranking of 110, a groin injury hindering his progress, but he gave the third seed plenty to think about and was only let down by the unforced error count - 47. And while it was not the easiest afternoon for Murray, a straight-sets win in around two hours will do nicely."

    Jeremy Bates, BBC Radio 5 live

    "Credit to the Lithuanian. He put him under a lot of pressure. Murray was not at his best, but he got the job done."


    Andy Murray: "He hits the ball very flat and hits it very early. Playing on these fast courts, it is very tough. Sometimes when you are struggling, you get very frustrated. I need to strike the ball better. My timing was off and I was leaving a lot of balls very short and allowing him to dictate some of the points."

    Murray 6-3 6-4 7-5 Berankis

    This time Andy Murray makes no mistake. He roars with relief as much as joy as Berankis punts long. It wasn't particularly pretty, but the Briton is through. And that is what it is all about isn't it?



    *Murray 6-3 6-4 6-5 Berankis

    Whether Ricardas Berankis drops his level at crucial points, Murray raises his, or perhaps a combination of both, the Lithuanian struggles to make the most of his breaks. He crumbles to 0-40, and although he manages to claw one break point back off the table, a lazy forehand wide of the tramlines gives Murray another chance to serve out.

    Jeremy Bates, BBC Radio 5 live

    "It's not what you'd expect. Quite a loose game from Murray - three errors. Berankis didn't do anything spectacular."

    Murray 6-3 6-4 5-5 Berankis*

    A whipcrack of a return from Ricardas Berankis gives Andy Murray plenty to think about as it moves him to 0-30. Murray dwells over his next serve a little longer as he thinks about where he is going to put it. He smuggles that one past Berankis, but loses the next point as he is disturbed by an apparent movement of the overhead 'spidercam'. Two break points for Berankis and Murray flops a forehand wide to keep the match alive to cheers from the Rod Laver crowd.

    *Murray 6-3 6-4 5-4 Berankis

    Andy Murray has Ricardas Berankis's feet over the fire as he lurks dangerously at 30-30, but the world 110 holds his nerve and Murray will have to serve this match out if he wants to be done in three.

    Murray 6-3 6-4 5-3 Berankis*

    Murray cleaves an ace down the tee to follow up one out wide as he holds to love. His serve has delivered more winners than any other part of his game today. It is looking slick and silky, where other parts of his arsenal have creaked.

    *Murray 6-3 6-4 4-3 Berankis

    Ricardas Berankis is a real punch of a player, all compact dense little groundstokes that power away for winners. He clumps another couple clean past Andy Murray as he wraps up the game, but where was such nonchalant brilliance when he really needed it?

    Murray 6-3 6-4 4-2 Berankis*

    Andy Murray has been reluctant to hit his backhand down the line throughout the match and maybe that is why. A rather forlorn effort sags into the net to given Ricardas Berankis 0-30. There is still plenty of oomph behind the forehand, though, as Murray wraps a scampering winner round his opponent when he had looked hounded out of the next point. Bernakis puts away a forehand volley to wrong-foot Murray for 30-40 and a break point, but Murray pulls up his socks and batters the Lithuanian into submission.

    *Murray 6-3 6-4 3-2 Berankis

    Ricardas Berankis had switched his baseball cap around the 'right' way. A quick swivel of his headwear back through 90 degrees seems to have perked up his service action. Two monster tee-offs usher Murray out of the door in the game from a dangerous-looking 30-30.

    Murray 6-3 6-4 3-1 Berankis*

    Andy Murray is feathering the accelerator now and beginning to make that rankings gap translate from paper to plexicushion. A far easier hold of serve that he was managing at the end of the second set as he consolidates the previous break.

    Jeremy Bates, BBC Radio 5 live

    "Laura Robson has a great chance against Sloane Stephens, who is a great player. People didn't expect Laura to beat Petra Kvitova. Now there's all this expectation. Laura is a big-match player."

    Seppi and Cilic are into a fifth on Court Two, should not be long now for Laura Robson.

    *Murray 6-3 6-4 2-1 Berankis

    Andy Murray has Ricardas Berankis deep in the sticky stuff at 0-40. The Lithuanian digs out two of the break points, but as he charges the net to try and salvage a third, he is cut in half by a backhand slice that he cannot pick up off his patellas. That may have broken the back of Berankis's challenge.

    Murray 6-3 6-4 1-1 Berankis*

    Ricardas Berankis breaks out the dropshot one too many times and Murray advances to dust a winner down the line in a twinkle. The Berankis return has been a bit wayward, just to boost the Murray service stats still further. The Lithuanian drops his forehand attempt long to cede the game.

    *Murray 6-3 6-4 0-1 Berankis

    Ricardas Berankis may be better at exhibitions than examinations. Out of the business end of a set and with the pressure off, he breezes through his opening service game of the third. There is a bit of the puff back in his strut.

    Jeremy Bates, BBC Radio 5 live

    "Murray will be relieved to drag that second set back from a 2-4 deficit. It's important for him to get a complete grip of the match."

    GAME AND SECOND SET- Murray 6-3 6-4 Berankis*

    Ricardas Berankis asks plenty of questions, mixing up the spin and flight of the ball, but Andy Murray has enough answers to survive the interrogation. The Scot's big serve prompts a return long from Berankis at 30-30 and then he raises the pace to hurry the Lithuanian at the baseline. Berankis drifts a shot into the net and the second set, one he had to sweat buckets for, is in the bag for Murray.

    *Murray 6-3 5-4 Berankis

    Break point up at 30-40, Andy Murray does superbly to block back a rocket serve from Berankis but can only look on as the Lithuanian socks back a baseline overhead of cartoon power to win the point. There is a bit of the old Andy Murray, the one who was too happy to wait for an opponent's mistake rather than seize a rally by the scruff of the neck himself, as he is denied from break point up again. Berankis eventually obliges, though, with a choked backhand into the top of the net and Murray has his nose ahead for the first time in the set. The Scot will serve for a two-set lead next.

    Juan Martin del Potro has staged a remarkable recovery over on Hisense against Jeremy Chardy. The sixth seed is heading into a decider after climbing back into the match at 3-6 3-6 7-6 6-3.

    Murray 6-3 4-4 Berankis*

    Ricardas Berankis has gone off the boil somewhat since grabbing the break back in game six of the set, but a fortunate net cord at 30-15 dribbles over to Murray's side to give him a foothold in the game. A horribly framed forehand from the Scot brings up deuce, but once again the Murray serve proves his most trustworthy weapon and ends Berankis' interest in the game.

    Jeremy Bates, BBC Radio 5 live

    "That was a terrific response from Murray. He's stepped up his game. But he has only hit three winners in an hour and 10 minutes. It's very unusual."

    *Murray 6-3 3-4 Berankis

    Tenacious from Andy Murray, who immediately grinds away to take the match back on serve. A beautifully weighted lob over a stranded Ricardas Berankis takes advantage of the second of three break points.

    Murray 6-3 2-4 Berankis*

    Andy Murray's get out of jail card is his serve and he plays it again at 30-40 break point down to Ricardas Berankis. The Lithuanian climbs into a Murray second serve from deuce though, ripping a forehand return down the line to put himself back within range with his second of the game and tenth of the match. Finally he converts, Murray netting needlessly off his backhand, and Berankis has a deserved lead.

    Jeremy Bates, BBC Radio 5 live

    "Credit to Berankis. Murray needs to gather his thoughts and maybe calm down. There are one or two signs that Murray is not happy with the standards he expects to deliver today."

    *Murray 6-3 2-3 Berankis

    There is no let-up from Ricardas Berankis. He is like a handicap bandit down the local links with his world ranking, expect him to start climbing over the 109 players above him very soon on this form. Andy Murray is being worked over in this set so far. He needs a break in the weather so he can get out and start making some holes in the Lithuanians game.

    Murray 6-3 2-2 Berankis*

    "Come on, do something!" Andy Murray angrily tells himself. The little self-inflicted pep-talk does the trick. He closes out the game with an ace. His serve has been firing, but the groundstokes off both sides are not quite popping. Certainly, Berankis has been given the space and time to show his undoubted baseline talent.

    Jeremy Bates, BBC Radio 5 live

    "I think Bernard Tomic v Roger Federer is going to be an exciting match. Tomic is not short on confidence, but I don't see any other winner but Federer."

    That is the first match on Rod Laver this evening, 0800 GMT.

    *Murray 6-3 1-2 Berankis

    Ricardas Berankis's service games are short snappy little episodes compared to the drawn-out dramas that Murray goes through in holding up his end. The Lithuanian sees just one point go the way of his opponent as he edges back in front on the scoreboard.

    Jeremy Bates, BBC Radio 5 live

    "Berankis has put tennis on the map in Lithuania. He's demonstrated some good skills - we've seen that already."

    Murray 6-3 1-1 Berankis*

    Andy Murray is just a little too cute with an attempted drop-shot in response to one by Berankis. His effort drops a fraction wide at 40-15 up and then a clumsy backhand allows the world number 110 through to deuce. There is more misfiring off the Murray backhand wing before an over-eager return from Berankis gives him advantage. Berankis pegs him back with a forehand that zips off the surface and out of reach. Murray proves the more patient in a 29-shot rally though, reflecting everything that the 22-year-old can lob at him, and punches through a serve to claim the game.

    *Murray 6-3 0-1 Berankis

    Ricardas Berankis lamps a forehand away, streaking across the whitewash, for 40-15 and then a fizzing serve missile evades Andy Murray's groping racquet for the first game. Berankis had eight break points in the opening set by the way, compared to Murray's two. The Scot converted both, the Lithuanian zero.

    Jeremy Bates, BBC Radio 5 live

    "I think there was a little bit of relief. From a seemingly very comfortable position, it turned into a tense moment. There was a little cry of encouragement from Murray."

    Piers Newbery, BBC Sport at Melbourne Park

    "Murray wins a strange set in which he struggled to dominate on serve, but Berankis let him off the hook with 16 unforced errors alongside some flashy winners. Meanwhile, there is much interest in the scores coming in from Hisense Arena and Court Two, where Juan Martin del Potro is in trouble and Laura Robson could face a long wait to get on. And the chilly breeze in the shady corner of Rod Laver Arena has people scrabbling for knitwear. Chilly is a relative term, obviously."

    GAME AND FIRST SET- Murray 6-3 Berankis*

    Andy Murray's powers of retrieval eventually are exhausted as Ricardas Berankis gives him the runaround on the baseline for 30-30. The Lithuanian loads a forehand with topspin and it kicks away from Murray to prise the next rally from him as well and set up break point. Murray finds an ace to see that one off, but he is in the midst of a storm no doubt. Another big serve is required to defend himself from another Berankis break point, but finally Murray is over the line. One set up, but this match has legs.

    *Murray 5-3 Berankis

    Ricardas Berankis is swishing through the ball very smoothly now. Ominous for Andy Murray who will want to quash this resurgence of his own serve. The Scot slices weakly into the net to fold in the eighth game. The ninth and next is a big one.

    Murray 5-2 Berankis*

    Ricardas Berankis is a player who would put together a superb highlight reel very quickly. The Lithuanian hits a couple of piercing groundstrokes to motor on to 15-40 and two break points. Andy Murray redeems the first with some precise play, advancing behind a carefully plotted series of forehands, but he cannot repeat the trick on the second. Berankis strikes back with a break of his own.

    *Murray 5-1 Berankis

    Hawkeye can't save Ricardas Berankis as he strays a fraction wide at 15-30 and Andy Murray has two break points. Unlike Berankis in the previous game, the Scot is clinical. Murray chops away with backhand slice, before suddenly stepping up a gear and flattening out the flight. There is too much pace there for Berankis and Murray has a double-break lead.

    Murray 4-1 Berankis*

    Now then. Ricardas Berankis is getting his gander up, a sweetly struck groundstroke combined with a duffed drop-shot from Murray gives the Lithuanian 15-40 and two break points. Murray sees them both off, but he is picking away at his shirt around the shoulder. Is that a hint of a niggle? Another break point for Berankis from deuce goes begging as he pushes wide, but a fourth is soon on the horizon as he manoeuvres Murray left and right with deftly directed forehands. Murray plucks out a clean-as-a-whistle ace to put that one back in the box and a couple more big serves finally give him the all-clear. That was a bit of a slog for the Briton, though, and a worrying glimpse of what Berankis is capable of if he gets up and running.

    *Murray 3-1 Berankis

    Ricardas Berankis strays a little too deep to give Andy Murray a sniff at 30-30, but a serve that Murray only just digs out from around his diaphragm puts the underdog within a point of safety. Berankis works Murray around the court, before slapping away the overhead to put the game to bed.

    Murray 3-0 Berankis*

    A real looker of a serve, arcing prettily down the tee, delivers an ace for Andy Murray and takes him to 40-15. The Scot is not having to apply much pressure to prompt a mistake from Ricardas Berankis. Murray wanders to the net on the next point and, although the Lithuanian has plenty of time to weigh up his options at the baseline, he dumps it into the mesh around the world number three's shins.

    *Murray 2-0 Berankis

    A break to love for Andy Murray as Ricardas Berankis pumps a forehand wide. The errors are suddenly sprouting up in the Lithuanian's game.

    Murray 1-0 Berankis*

    Ricardas Berankis shows that he has a bit about him as he takes the first point with a stretching overhead, but Murray milks him for a couple of unforced errors at the baseline to take the game for the loss of two points. Berankis is wearing a back-to-front cap in an attempt to win over a crowd who will forever hold a flame for Lleyton Hewitt.

    Jeremy Bates, BBC Radio 5 live

    "Murray has shown very good patience. Berankis is competent from the back, but Murray is equal to the task. Berankis is a talented young man."

  73. 0411: 

    Right. Here we go, Andy Murray to serve first. Eyes down.

    Piers Newbery, BBC Sport at Melbourne Park

    "Murray walks onto court in bright sunshine and a gentle breeze, pretty perfect conditions, and the knock-up will have felt familiar as the pair are regular hitting partners. Lots of "Come on Andy!" already, and at least two kilts on show."

  75. 0410: 

    The Lithuanian qualifier is ranked 110 in the world and his appearance in the third round here matches his best-ever performance in a Grand Slam. A former world junior number one, the 22-year-old has struggled with injuries, missing three months of last season with a hernia and four months of 2011 with a stress fracture. He also likes spear fishing in his spare time. Nice.

  76. 0406: 

    Andy Murray is out and knocking up on the Rod Laver Arena. We know plenty about the US Open champion, British number one, five-time Grand Slam finalist, but what about his opponent Ricardas Berankis?

  77. 0404: 

    Marin Cilic, another potential quarter-final opponent for Andy Murray, only just sneaked the first set against Andreas Seppi and the 12th seed is behind in the second, trailing 4-2 out on Court Two.

  78. 0359: 

    Juan Martin del Potro looks in all sorts of bother out on Hisense. The sixth seed wears a hangdog expression worthy of Droopy as he heads back to his seat after dropping his serve to surrender the second set. Jeremy Chardy leads 6-3 6-3 and one of the main obstacles to Andy Murray's progress looks to be heading out of the Australian Open equation.

  79. 0356: 

    That speedy dispatch of Ayumi Morita means that Andy Murray is next up on the Rod Laver ramp. The Scot will be strutting his stuff on the showpiece court very shortly.

    Serena Williams reveals amid the post-match platitudes that her mother Oracene's backhand is right up there with Justine Henin's. Her serve needs work though.

  80. 0351: 

    A crunching backhand return splatters down on Ayumi Morita's side of the court as Serena Williams completes a straightforward win in an hour and six minutes.

  81. 0348: 

    Serena Williams is cantering for the finish line now. She holds to love to win her fifth successive game and take a 5-3 lead against Ayumi Morita.

  82. 0346: 

    Juan Martin del Potro needed to raise his game after losing the first set against Jeremy Chardy. He hasn't really. The sixth seed, who won the US Open back in 2009, is a break down in the second set against the Frenchman, trailing 4-3. Andy Murray's support team may soon be able to drag the Del Potro reconnaissance file into the recycle bin on their laptops.

  83. 0340: 

    A whistlestop hold to love and Serena Williams levels out the second set at 3-3. That serve that I mentioned back at 0319? It has just rocketed to the top of the service speed charts at an official reading of 207kph (128.7mph) - well clear of Sabine Lisicki's next best effort of 194kph (120.6mph).

  84. 0336: 

    Serena Williams has snapped back to reality and, although Ayumi Morita is playing well, she has little trouble befuddling her opponent with power and angles as she breaks back. The 15-time Grand Slam champion trails 3-2 in the second set, but the balls are heading back to her end to give her a chance to serve back to parity.

  85. 0332: 

    You take your eye off Serena Williams for one moment.... From somewhere Ayumi Morita has conjured a break of serve in between two solid holds of her own for a 3-1 lead early in the second set. No sign of any problems with the ankle that she fell on in the first set, or indeed the lip that she whacked with her racquet in the second round, but Williams is misfiring off her groundstrokes at the moment.


    While I'm checking the social media, here are some of your thoughts as to whether Laura Robson, up later against Sloane Stephens, or Heather Watson, beaten by Agnieszka Radwanska yesterday, will finish 2013 as the top-ranked Briton:

    Jake Edwards on Twitter: "Tough one, Robson has the game but Watson is the grinder. Robson can mix it with the big hitters. Top 20 by the end of the year."

    Chris Dinwoodie on Twitter: "Watson 23rd, Robson 16th. Watson struggles with the top players so will struggle in slams."

    Rob Brown on Twitter: "I think they'll both end up top 32 but Robson to be higher for me. She can dictate points & can beat anyone bar top 3 on her day."


    Luce Fenner on Twitter: "Serious question: has anyone tested to see if Serena Williams is a robot? She plays awesome effortless tennis w/o breaking a sweat."

    #bbctennis is where to aim all your tennis thoughts.

  88. 0319: 

    After a bit of a slow start, Serena Williams is in total command of her third round match against Ayumi Morita. The world number three absolutely flattens one serve, producing a 207 kmh/ 128 mph ace as she racks up the first set in 31 minutes. Last 16 very much ahoy.

  89. 0314: 

    Jeremy Chardy takes the opening set against Juan Martin del Potro 6-3.

    To get a little bit Murray-centric for a moment, if Del Potro fails to recover and win that would leave Marin Cilic, a break down himself to Andreas Seppi in the first set of their match, or Gilles Simon as the highest-ranked players that the Scot could play in the last eight.

  90. 0256: 

    Things are not looking too clever for a couple of high-profile seeds in the men's draw.

    On Hisense, Argentine sixth seed Juan Martin del Potro, a possible quarter-final opponent for Andy Murray, is 5-2 adrift in the opening set against France's Jeremy Chardy.

    Richard Gasquet, seeded ninth, lost the first set of his match against Ivan Dodig, who famously beat Rafael Nadal in Montreal back in 2011, but is currently attempting to serve out at 5-3 ahead in the second.

  91. 0250: 

    Serena Williams, who would have been watching Victoria Azarenka's struggles with an arched eyebrow I reckon, is on court against Ayumi Morita. The five-time champion, her bulky hair held aloft by some super-strength elastics, has held her opening service game and takes her Japanese opponent to deuce before Morita levels at 1-1.

  92. 0243: 

    Middlesex's Harriet Dart, ranked third among the British juniors, is making a decent fist of her match against Anett Kontaveit after the loss of the first set. She trails 6-2 3-2 out on Court 10, with things on serve in the second.

    Piers Newbery, BBC Sport at Melbourne Park

    "There are plenty of kilts and union flags around Melbourne Park today, and there has been British interest already with Jonny Marray and Brazil's Andre Sa losing a tight one in the doubles on Court 13. The pair sat, dejected, for some time after the loss before the Englishman was up and signing autographs. A few steps away on Court 10, 16-year-old Londoner Harriet Dart is making her Australian Open juniors debut and finding it tough going against the more powerful 10th seed Anett Kontaveit of Estonia. "Finally!" says Dart when she lands a forehand winner, with Judy Murray and Jeremy Bates among the handful of spectators."

  94. 0237: 

    Svetlana Kuznetsova is through to the last 16, beating Carla Suarez Navarro 6-2 4-6 6-3 on Court Two. That three-setter, combined with Victoria Azarenka's extended encounter with Jamie Hampton, has made my early prediction of a 0230 GMT appearance for Andy Murray and Laura Robson look wildly optimistic.

    Murray will be on Rod Laver once Serena Williams is finished with Ayumi Morita, while Robson is waiting on Andreas Seppi and Marin Cilic on Court Two. Maybe 0330 GMT and 0415 GMT respectively?

  95. 0231: 

    Victoria Azarenka on opponent Jamie Hampton in her on-court interview: "She played incredibly. I think she has a great future in front of her with this potential. She takes a medical time-out but is still ripping winners all over the place, and I am like 'can I get a back problem?'!".

    I'm not sure that everyone in the Rod Laver crowd appreciated her humour.

  96. 0228: 

    It is finally curtains for Jamie Hampton as she is muscled out of her service game by Victoria Azarenka. Despite a defeat and an injury, she will surely look back on the match with more satisfaction than Azarenka. The American looked like a world-beater when she went after the lines - the winner count was 41-17 in her favour against the top-ranked player in the world.

  97. 0220: 

    It looks like the beginning of the end for Jamie Hampton's spirited challenge as Victoria Azarenka breaks for a 4-2 lead, but the American is not done yet. Everything is coming right out of the sweet spot as she takes Victoria Azarenka to 0-40 in the next game.

    All three of those break-back points go to the wall, though, as the world number one trains fire on Hampton's backhand wing, content to let the rallies drag on and on knowing that her injury will force Hampton to try and make something out of nothing. The defending champion moves 5-2 up and Hampton serves to stay in the match next.

  98. 0215: 

    Maria Kirilenko has seen off Yanina Wickmayer out on Hisense, 7-6 (7-4) 6-3. The Russian 14th seed will play the winner of the match between Serena Williams and Ayumi Morita, which is on Rod Laver after the conclusion of the Azarenka/Hampton wrestle.

  99. 0212: 

    Victoria Azarenka is very much the villain of this piece for the Rod Laver crowd. The defending champion breaks back against Jamie Hampton before holding serve for a 3-2 lead in the second set, which just looks cruel against her injured opponent. But you don't become a Grand Slam champion by checking on the welfare of those you are clambering over on the way to the trophy.


    The Armchair Pundit on Twitter: "My housemates at uni must be waking up as my incredulous yelps increase in volume with every astonishing whack that Hampton plays."

    Rob Brown on Twitter: "Hampton may not last to win the match but she will have gained a few fans, me included! What guts & ball striking ability."

  101. 0205: 

    Jamie Hampton, still looking racked with pain, breaks serve through the grimaces for a 2-1 lead. The American is leaving it all on court and Victoria Azarenka is looking utterly bemused. When she is not mashing her racquet into the plexicushion in frustration that is.

  102. 0203: 

    It is horribly compelling viewing on Rod Laver. Jamie Hampton looks on the point of tears such is the pain firing up through her spine from that troublesome back. The American looks more like a world number one than Azareka though. She is ploughing into groundstrokes in search of straight winners and is finding them with stunning regularity. The winner count stands 35-15 in her favour, with 1-1 on the scoreboard. If the painkillers start kicking in this could get very interesting indeed.

  103. 0156: 

    Oli Burgoyne on Twitter: "Dilemma! I want Hampton to keep it up but it delays the Murray match - looks like an all nighter!"

    Matthew Vernon on Twitter: "Come on Hampton!!! If for no other reason than to remove one of the three large, serial grunters at the top of the women's game."

    #bbctennis is the place to find us.

  104. 0152: 

    Jamie Hampton has definitely ricked something somewhere in her back but it doesn't stop her holding serve in a extraordinary final game of the second set.

    The American, moving gingerly, produces a winning drop shot from deep behind the baseline in the game's first point and then pulls a booming serve out of her pocket for 30-15. Victoria Azarenka blazes long to concede the set, but Hampton is wincing through every forehand and is getting more deep tissue work as she takes her seat.

  105. 0147: 

    Svetlana Kuznetsova's momentum has been checked over on Court Two as Spain's Carla Suarez Navarro takes the second. The match is level at 6-2 4-6 1-1.

    Britain's Jonathan Marray and his double partner Andre Sa have been outgunned and dumped out by Robin Haase and Igor Sjisling 6-4 7-6 (7-5) in the second round of the men's doubles.

  106. 0143: 

    The trainer has been called onto court. Gamesmanship by Victoria Azarenka is my first rather cynical thought. It turns out that Jamie Hampton's back is giving her a bit of grief and the American is going to head back behind the scenes to get a rubdown before she tries to seal this second set. Azarenka heads out onto court to hit a couple of practice balls while she waits. Intriguing.

  107. 0140: 

    Victoria Azarenka was clinging on by her fingernails there. She sees off two break and set points on her own serve, but having safely negotiated that little minefield, she swivels the spotlight back onto Jamie Hampton. The American serves for the second set next and she looks like she is mentally chewing over the prospect as she stares into middle distance at the changeover.

  108. 0136: 

    The toys might be heading out out of Victoria Azarenka's pram. The world number one butchers a forehand chance to break back in the eighth game against Jamie Hampton and then watches the American summon up a second serve zinger and smash away some classic serve and volley to keep hold of her advantage and move on to 5-3. Azarenka, looking stern, is serving to stay in the set next.

  109. 0130: 

    Freddie Nielsen and Sabine Lisicki have been ousted in the opening round of the mixed doubles going down 7-6 (8-6) 6-3 to Jarmila Gajdosova and Matthew Ebden.

  110. 0125: 

    Over on Hisense, Yanina Wickmayer has blinked first in her tie-break against 14th seed Maria Kirilenko, slipping 7-6 (7-4) down.

    Freddie Nielsen, he of Wimbledon men's doubles fame, and Sabine Lisicki have lost the first set of their match against the Australian duo of Jarmila Gajdosova and Matthew Ebden and are on the brink in the second at 7-6 (8-6) 5-3 down.

    Jonathan Marray and Andre Sa are at 6-6 in the second, having lost the opener against Robin Haase and Igor Sjisling.

  111. 0120: 

    Jamie Hampton holds serve for 3-1 and a bit of breathing space in the second set against Victoria Azarenka. The crowd, with the exception of Azarenka's big-haired companion Redfroo, formerly of dance-pop duo LMFAO, are getting behind the American. This could get out of hand quickly for the world number one if she doesn't start stamping her authority on the match.

  112. 0116: 

    It has been a see-sawing start to the second set out on the Rod Laver Arena. Only breaks of serve so far as Jamie Hampton takes a 2-1 lead. The American is having plenty of fun out there against Victoria Azarenka, can't help thinking that either Serena Williams or Maria Sharapova would be giving her a more miserable time. 6-4 1-2 at the moment after Azarenka sneaked the first.

  113. 0112: 

    Right, to the question de jour. As we build up to Laura Robson's meeting with fellow teenager Sloane Stephens, do we think she or Heather Watson will finish 2013 as the highest-ranked Briton in the women's game?

    Andy Murray (really?) in Warrington: "I think Laura Robson will finish in the top 20 and I reckon she will finish higher than Watson, but they are both on the up and looking great for the future."

    Pete in York: "Both to do well, but Robson to do better. Fancy her to maybe be in top 30 by US Open time.. Seeded?? Looking forward to a Henman/Rusedski style battle to push each other forward."

    Your predictions are welcome on 81111 from UK mobiles or via the Twitter hashtag #bbctennis.

  114. 0106: 

    What was I saying about the fearless Jamie Hampton? Well, the prospect of parity just seems to spook the 23-year-old and a dirty great double fault in her following service game sees her fold in the opening set against Victoria Azarenka. Six-four. Hampton is straight back on the front foot after they rise from the stools though, a thumping backhand whistling off her racquet to give her a break of serve in the opening game of the second. Strange old game.


    Daniel's Beard on Twitter: "More Ewans, FEWER Toms...come on #bbctennis - how are Murray and Robson going to reach the last 16 with grammar like that?!"

    Too right, Daniel. Stay with me, I'll try harder. I can see from that apostrophe that you know your stuff.

  116. 0058: 

    Now then. I like the cut of Jamie Hampton's jib. The American, aided by a double fault from Victoria Azarenka, moves up 0-40 with three break points in the ninth game. She is fearless, particularly on the forehand wing, and keeps hitting persistent depth and pace to convert the second and take this opening set back on serve at 5-4.

  117. 0055: 

    The on-court chemistry between Jonathan Marray and Andre Sa is going to be tested once more. The Anglo-Brazilian pair have lost the first set 6-4 to Robin Haase and Igor Sjisling on Court 13. The good news is that they recovered from the loss of the opener to win their first-round match against Lukas Lacko and Igor Zelenay.

  118. 0052: 

    Carla Suarez Navarro plants a regulation volley wide to cough up another break and surrender the opening set 6-2 to Svetlana Kuznetsova.

  119. 0048: 

    Is it possible to be a veteran at just 27? Svetlana Kuznetsova feels like a player that has been rattling around the women's game for ages. A winner of two Grand Slam titles, the 2004 US Open and 2009 French Open, she missed a large chunk of last season thorough injury, slipping outside the top 50. Unseeded in this tournament, the Russian is looking good for the last 16 having taken a 5-2 lead over Carla Suarez Navarro on on Court Two.

  120. 0043: 

    Tom Murray on Twitter: "Going to bed now, but would love to wake up to the news that Murray & Robson get though to the last 16! Come on the Brits!!"

    Ewan Powell on Twitter: "No sleep tonight! Robbo & Murray in action. Also got Seppi v Cilic & Simon v Monfils to provide a cracking nights entertainment."

    More Ewans, less Toms please. Your company is essential to keep us going through the night here. Get in touch on #bbctennis or from UK mobiles on 81111. How about an opening teaser of who do you think will finish 2013 higher in the rankings, Heather Watson or Laura Robson? Go.

  121. 0036: 

    Over on Hisense Arena, Belgian 20th seed Yanina Wickmayer has broken Russian 14th seed Maria Kirilenko early in the first set for a 2-0 lead.

    I think a lot of the early arrivers at Melbourne Park are probably over on Court Two getting all nostalgic as they watch 'the Woodies' - Mark Woodforde and Todd Woodbridge - against the perennially mischievous Mansour Bahrami and Wayne Ferreira in the legends doubles. Three-all in the first at the moment if it matters to you.

    Over on Rod Laver Victoria Azarenka, plugging away at her opponent's weaker backhand, has broken Jamie Hampton, but is not having it all her own way. The world number one has had to see off a break point on her own serve en route and has been given the runaround on a number of points despite a 4-1 lead.

  122. 0026: 

    Britain's Jonathan Marray, Wimbledon doubles champion, and his new partner Andre Sa have slipped a break down at 2-0 to Robin Haase and Igor Sijsling out on Court 13.

    Marray may be casting wistful looks over to Court Three where Freddie Nielsen, the man he shared SW19 glory with, and Sabine Lisicki are 3-0 to the good against Australian pair Jarmila Gajdosova and Matthew Edben.

  123. 0020: 

    Victoria Azarenka, sporting a peach dress, has held serve in the opening game of her match against Jamie Hampton. Hampton, who reached the semi-finals of the Auckland warm-up event, is ranked 63rd in the world and is on the up after a wrist injury slowed her up in her late teenage years. The American's thumping forehand has just helped her hold her own first service game for 1-1. Time for a quick skim around the other courts to see who else is among the early risers.

    Piers Newbery, BBC Sport at Melbourne Park

    "It's a cooler start to day six and the weather forecast suggests sun, cloud, and possibly rain with a high temperature of around 22C, which should suit Andy Murray and Laura Robson down to the ground. Murray should have few problems with Lithuania's Ricardis Berankis, a regular hitting partner, and the real interest could lie with Robson up against American Sloane Stephens. The teenagers have known each other since they were 12, and their mums are good friends. A full day will conclude with the match everyone in Australia has been waiting for - Roger Federer v Bernard Tomic. Can the kid upset the king?"

  125. 0010: 

    It is Victoria Azarenka who gets first use of the main court today though. The Belarussian comes into the Australian Open as the world number one, but as defending champion, has the most ranking points on the line. Even if she successfully defends her title, it may not be enough to stay at the top of the ladder as Serena Williams need only reach the final to regain top slot.

    Maria Sharapova, who destroyed Serena's sister last night, is also in with a shout of claiming world number one slot. The Russian has reached the fourth round for loss of just four games - the fewest games dropped to reach the last 16 at the Australian Open since Steffi Graf did the same in 1989.

  126. 0005: 

    I have also just noticed that Freddie Nielsen, the man who preferred to focus on his singles career rather than continue with Wimbledon-winning doubles partner Jonathan Marray, is sneaking in a little bit of mixed doubles with Germany's charming Sabine Lisicki first on Court Six. I'll keep an eye on it to see if I can work out what has tempted him back into the doubles fold.

  127. 0000: 

    Good day to you all and welcome to day six of the Australian Open, where we will finish shaving down the men and women's singles fields to 16 players.

    Andy Murray and Laura Robson will hope to make that cut. The two remaining Britons in singles competition will be on court somewhere, very approximately, around 0230 GMT UK time, against Richard Berankis and Slone Stephens respectively.

    No need for energy drinks or self-inflicted facial slaps to see you through until then though.

    We have got two women at the very top of the game, in Victoria Azarenka and Serena Williams, and two players who have aspirations to shake up the men's Big Four, in Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Juan Martin del Potro, to keep us entertained.

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