Australian Open 2023 live: Novak Djokovic gets fans kicked out, Alexei Popyrin beats Taylor Fritz in mammoth upset

Welcome to news.com.au’s coverage of the Australian Open as day four gets underway.

Weather once again wreaked havoc at Melbourne Park with the heavens opening and delaying play for most of the afternoon on Wednesday.

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Plenty of big name stars will take to the courts on Thursday as the second round action continues with two Aussie stars leading the night session.

Novak Djokovic will return to Rod Laver Arena after he received the warmest of welcomes after his deportation in 2022.

The number of Aussies left in the draw is dwindling with fans hoping Alex de Minaur and Thanasi Kokkinakis can advance into the third round.

Don’t miss any of the action below.

10.50pm – ‘Drunk out of his mind’: Djokovic blasts fans

Novak Djokovic’s first round match saw him get a great reception from fans but it seems not everyone was on board for the love in.

Djokovic, who dropped the second set in his match against World No. 191 Enzo Couacaud, returned the match to normal programming when in the fourth set the Serbian star demanded a group of fans be kicked out.

“He’s been provoking all night, the entire night, the entire night — what are you going to do about it?” Djokovic said.

“What are you going to do about it? What?”

After giving him the umpire a chance to speak, Djokovic continued: “You’re kidding me, you know who it is. The guy’s drunk out of his mind. From the first point he’s been provoking. He’s not here to watch tennis. He just wants to get in my head. So I’m asking you, what are you going to do about it? You’ve heard him at least 10 times — I’ve heard him 50 times. What are you going to do about it?

“Why not? Why don’t you get security guards and get him out of the stadium?”

The cameras soon found the man who blew kisses to the Serbian star.

A security guard did intervene, sitting in front of the men dressed as Wally from Where’s Wally?

However, after continued interruptions they were escorted from the stadium.

The question in the commentary box was whether they had said something over the top to provoke the response from Djokovic.

But Djokovic quickly finished the match, winning the match 6-1 6-7 6-2 6-0.

10.09pm – Novak in trouble amid wild Open bloodbath

World No. 191 Enzo Couacaud has taken a set off tournament favourite Novak Djokovic after what has been a spectacularly brutal day for seeded players.

So far, 2nd seed Caspar Ruud, 8th seed Taylor Fritz, 12th seed Alexander Zverev, 23rd seed Diego Schwartzman and 30th see Alejandro Davidovich Fokina have all been ousted from the tournament, while Roberto Bautista Agut and Pable Carreno have both gone to five sets.

But while Djokovic was expected to coast through against the man ranked nearly 200 places below him, the Frenchman has sent a shockwave through the tournament.

Djokovic won the first set 6-1 before Couacaud stunned the world, winning the second in a tiebreak.

Although Djokovic broke early in the third, he’s still not home and during the second he appeared to be struggling with his hamstring injury hurt during the Adelaide International.

Djokovic bounced back to win the third set and leads 6-1 6-7 6-2.

7.20pm – Popyrin wins in huge upset

He’s done it.

Aussie young gun Alexei Popyrin has pulled off one of the upsets of the Australian Open, defeating Taylor Fritz in a five-set thriller.

Popyrin played out of his skin to defeat the highly fancied eighth seed 6-7 7-6 6-4 6-7 6-2.

He took it right up to Fritz in a scintillating performance, including a brilliant third set in which he didn’t lose a single point on serve.

He raced through the final set to book his spot in the third round, equalling his best ever result at a grand slam.

The 23-year-old is the first Aussie man to beat a top 10 player at the Australian Open since 2005.

6.30pm – Popyrin on fire against Fritz

Another huge upset could be on the cards as Alexei Popyrin takes it right up to Taylor Fritz.

The American won the first set 7-6 but the Aussie youngster played a scintillating second set tiebreak to level the match at one set apiece.

Popryin carried on the momentum to win the third set 6-4 and remarkably didn’t lose a single point on serve during the set.

But Fritz survived a match point in the fourth set tiebreak to force a fifth and deciding set.

5.04pm – Major 29-year upset shocks the world

Is American men’s tennis back?

World No. 39 Jenson Brooksby has pulled off a giant upset, eliminating World No. 3 Casper Ruud as the top two seeds bowed out in back to back days to American youngsters.

Yesterday it was an injured Rafael Nadal bowing out to Mackenzie McDonald — today was Brooksby’s turn in a commanding 6-3 7-5 6-7 6-2 win.

It didn’t all go his way as Brooksby has erupted at the end of the third set after he missed a golden opportunity to finish off World No. 2 Casper Ruud, having lost three match points to go to a fourth set.

But he made no mistake in the fourth dominating the Norwegian to book a place in the next round against fellow American Tommy Paul, who ousted 30th seed Alejandro Davidovich Fokina in five sets earlier in the day.

It’s the first time since the 1994 French Open that the top two seeds have been knocked out by Americans and shows the renewed depth of US tennis.

Currently 13 American men are in the top 100 players in the world — headlined by World No. 9 Taylor Fritz, world No. 17 Frances Tiafoe and World No. 31 Sebastian Korda.

For the record, Paul is ranked No. 35, setting up a mouthwatering clash between the young Americans for a place in the fourth round.

12.40pm – Stosur’s doubles career comes to an end

Sam Stosur’s doubles career has come to an end on Kia Arena following a straight sets loss in first round of the doubles tournament.

Stosur and teammate Alize Cornet fell to Chan Hao-ching and Yang Zhaoxuan 6-3 6-4.

She still has one more event scheduled at the Aussie grand slam, a mixed doubles campaign alongside fellow Aussie Matt Ebden.

Stosur, 38, announced this would be her final Australian Open campaign before the tournament got underway, saying she was excited to farewell the game at her 21st Australian Open.

“It’s incredible to play in a home tournament, and we’re very lucky to have a home Grand Slam. I’ve now been here 21 times, so I can’t complain,” she said.

“My family made lots of sacrifices when I was younger to allow me to follow my dreams, I couldn’t ask for anything more from my mum and dad.

“They’ve been my biggest supporters, and I thank them for everything that I’ve been able to do.”

11am – Kyrgios’ backstage grope caught on camera

Melbourne Park cameras don’t miss anything.

Nick Kyrgios should know that after his years on tour, but if he didn’t he sure does now.

Despite withdrawing from the Australian Open due to a knee injury, the Aussie continues to dominate social media.

Footage was uploaded to Twitter showing Kyrgios and girlfriend Costeen Hatzi walking around in the warm up area backstage when the Canberra native gets handsy with his partner.

The two are fooling around when the 27-year-old Kyrgios hugs her from behind before he fondles her chest.

Social media users were stunned by the footage.

“Why is he doing that in the middle of the hallway why is he even at the tournament?” one observer commented.

“Like the most annoying couple in a high school hallway,” another said. “Also get outta here. Why is he still here?”

7am – Fouled mouthed hecklers booted from Aus Open

A trio of British fans were sent packing from the Australian Open on Wednesday after unloading a barrage of taunts at French player Constant Lestienne.

Lestienne was taking on Britain’s Cameron Norrie in a second round clash when the unruly fans kicked off in the opening set.

The loudmouthed fans drew the attention of Melbourne Park security and were escorted out long before Norrie secured the 6-3, 3-6, 7-6, 6-3 victory.

Chants rang out from the fans after Norrie took a 4-3 lead in the opening set as they started off with a loud “Enger-land” chant.

The Frenchman was visibly frustrated by the chants and after being handed a time violation, the fans started going after him directly.

Anger boiled over as Lestienne effectively threw points away and at the end of the opening set things got even worse.

The rowdy fans being chanting “Constant’s going home” as well as “You’re just a sh*t Andy Murray”. It was then that the chair umpire got out of his seat and walked over to security who promptly removed the fans.

The three men didn’t go quietly however as they sculled their beers and continued singing “he’s going home” on their way out.

The second round contest finally came to an end at 1:30am (AEDT) with Norrie booking his place in the third round.

6am – Day three wrapped up

Defending champion Rafael Nadal hobbled out of the second round in a huge upset at the Australian Open, as Coco Gauff beat Emma Raducanu in a battle of the rising stars.

The 36-year-old Nadal was clearly hindered by a hip issue that required a medical time-out, as he went down 6-4, 6-4, 7-5 to the American.

The Italian 15th seed Jannik Sinner, 16th seed Frances Tiafoe and sixth seed Felix Auger-Aliassime all won.

So too did Daniil Medvedev, the losing finalist at the past two Australian Opens, who overcame a partisan crowd to dismiss Australian wildcard John Millman 7-5, 6-2, 6-2.

Greek third seed Stefanos Tsitsipas raced past Australian wildcard Rinky Hijikata in 92 minutes.

The 18-year-old American Gauff, seen as the heir to now-retired Serena Williams, defeated former US Open champion Raducanu 6-3, 7-6 (7/4).

Earlier, world number one Iga Swiatek and dangerous American Jessica Pegula led the charge into the third round.

Polish title favourite Swiatek swept past Colombia’s Camila Osorio 6-2, 6-3 while third seed Pegula downed Belarusian Aliaksandra Sasnovich 6-2, 7-6 (7/5).

Greece’s Maria Sakkari also went through, but she looked anything but the sixth seed in a 3-6, 7-5, 6-3 struggle against Russian qualifier and college student Diana Shnaider.

Sakkari was irked by Shnaider’s fist pumps and celebratory screams, before finding her composure.

In the last match of the day, last year’s beaten finalist Danielle Collins had an almighty scare before defeating Karolina Muchova 6-7 (1/7), 6-2, 7-6 (10/6).

– AFP

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