Australian Open 2021 tennis LIVE updates - Thiem vs Kyrgios; Djokovic, Halep all coming up
It’s day five at the 2021 Australian Open! A conveyer belt of talent awaits including Serena Williams, Novak Djokovic, Naomi Osaka, Simona Halep and Garbiñe Muguruza. Plus there’s bound to be more fireworks with Nick Kyrgios also on the menu. Watch every match live and ad-free on the Eurosport app and eurosport.co.uk.
Published 12/02/2021 at 00:06 GMT | Updated 12/02/2021 at 13:37 GMT
13:30 - Day 5 round-up
Well, it was certainly a day of drama at the Australian Open. We had the five-set thriller between Nick Kyrgios and Dominic Thiem which saw the US Open champion emerge with the win. Simona Halep laid down a marker with an impressive victory over Veronika Kudermetova. And then we had the struggles of Novak Djokovic who looked to be in real trouble at points of his five-set win over Taylor Fritz.
There were also wins for Felix Auger Aliassime, Sascha Zverev, Serena Williams, Garbine Muguruza and Iga Swiatek. Shall we do it all over again tomorrow?
A hobbling Djokovic gets through to the fourth round! It looked bad for the world number one at the end of the fourth set, but he rallied and found something deep inside himself to get over the line. Fritz allowed his level to drop and Djokovic made the most of that.
12:55 - Fritz levels up
DJOKOVIC 4-6 FRITZ (7-6, 6-4, 3-6)
We are going the distance! Fritz holds comfortably and Djokovic looks to be in real trouble. This match has got away from him very quickly after the injury. Is there any way for him to get this one over the line in the deciding set?
12:10 - Plot twist!
DJOKOVIC 3-6 FRITZ (7-6, 6-4)
Plot twist! Fritz has taken the third set and things aren't looking so good for Djokovic right now! The American holds to love as the world number one struggles badly to stay in the rallies. What is he going to do about this injury?
11:40 - Thiem completes the comeback!
THIEM 4-6, 4-6, 6-3, 6-4, 6-4 KYRGIOS
What a comeback! Thiem was in real trouble at two sets to love down, but the US Open champion found something deep inside to spark a comeback! Kyrgios played some magnificent stuff in the first two sets, but allowed his level to drop and against a player as good as Thiem that proved to be the difference.
11:30 - Djokovic on his way
DJOKOVIC 6-4 FRITZ (7-6)
The world number one and defending champion is now two sets to the good and has one foot in the fourth round. A love hold from Djokovic and the Serbian gets out of what was a tricky set for him at moments.
11:00 - Going the distance!
THIEM 6-4 KYRGIOS (4-6, 4-6, 6-3)
Thiem has levelled the match! That game wasn't without controversy! Kyrgios has a problem with a couple of the automatic Hawk-Eye calls, especially the one on set point. It looked all the way in and then drifted just wide. That was after Kyrgios started the game with a point penalty!
10:40 - Djokovic wins the tie break
DJOKOVIC 7-6 (1) FRITZ
The world number one and defending champion takes the first set in the tie break. Fritz only won one point against Djokovic as he the Serbian showed why he's the strong favourite to win this tournament again.
10:15 - What a way to serve it out!
This was an incredible moment from Kyrgios at the end of the second set - an underarm ace on set point!
'It's happened!' - Kyrgios aces Thiem with underarm to win second set in style
10:10 - Thiem back in it
THIEM 6-3 KYRGIOS (4-6, 4-6)
Thiem is back in this match! He takes the third set with yet another love hold to silence John Cain Arena! Kyrgios had a shaky start to the third set and never really recovered from there. He needs to maintain his focus for the fourth set.
09:40 - Kyrgios two sets up
THIEM 4-6 KYRGIOS (4-6)
Second set to Kyrgios and he seals it with AN UNDERAM ACE WINNER ON SET POINT! Wow! Wow! The Australian is amped right now! The crowd on John Court Arena is loving it! It's a long way back for Thiem from here!
09:30 - Everyone loves a tweener
What an incredible point this was between Thiem and Kyrgios with the Austrian throwing in a tweener for good measure!
'Wow!' - Kyrgios wins amazing point after Thiem tweener
09:25 - Halep is through
KUDERMETOVA 1-6, 3-6 HALEP
Halep is into the fourth round with a strong performance against Kudermetova! The number two seed takes the match in straight sets. There was just too many errors from the Russian. In terms of the dynamic of the contest, it was closer than the scoreline suggests.
09:15 - The perfect start
It was clear from the very first game of the match that Kyrgios was wired in for this one!
'Perfect start' - Kyrgios breaks Thiem immediately, crowd go wild
09:00 - Kyrgios up and running
THIEM 4-6 KYRGIOS
The first set goes the way of Kyrgios in 37 minutes! What a performance it has been from the Australian so far! He sees it out with a serve and volley at the net and the crowd are loving this! What a match!
08:40 - Halep one set up
KUDERMETOVA 1-6 HALEP
There's the first set and it goes the way of Halep in half an hour. There were just too many errors by Kudermetova, summed up by how she brought up set point against herself with a double fault and then followed it up with a loose forehand into the tramlines.
08:00 - Saturday's order of play
Rod Laver Arena
Day session - midnight UK time
Karolina Muchova (Czech Republic) v Karolina Pliskova (Czech Republic)
Filip Krajinovic (Serbia) v Daniil Medvedev (Russia)
Belinda Bencic (Switzerland) v Elise Mertens (Belgium)
Not before 8am UK time
Anett Kontaveit (Estonia) v Shelby Rogers (USA)
Cameron Norrie (Britain) v Rafa Nadal (Spain)
Margaret Court Arena
Day session - midnight UK time
Yulia Putintseva (Kazakhstan) v Elina Svitolina (Ukraine)
Kaia Kanepi (Estonia) v Donna Vekic (Croatia)
Andrey Rublev (Russia) v Feliciano Lopez (Spain)
Not before 8am UK time
Ash Barty (Australia) v Ekaterina Alexandrova (Russia)
Fabio Fognini (Italy) v Alex de Minaur (Australia)
John Cain Arena
Day session - 1am UK Time
Jessica Pegula (USA) v Kristina Mladenovic (France)
22-Jennifer Brady (USA) v Kaja Juvan (Slovenia)
Stefanos Tsitsipas (Greece) v Mikael Ymer (Sweden)
Not before 6am UK time
Karen Khachanov (Russia) v Matteo Berrettini (Italy)
07:45 - Schett: No fans should not affect players
Eurosport tennis expert Barbara Schett, who lives in Queensland, Australia with her family, says the lack of fans over the next five days should not affect the players.
She said: "I think Tennis Australia were in a position where they knew something could happen if any cases popped up, the Victorian government is pretty fast shutting things down.
"To be honest, I don’t see a lot changing at the Australian Open, it’s still going to continue, obviously without crowds. Players are used to playing without crowds but the tournament is happening and continuing.
"The crowds will be back in five days for basically the finish of the tournament, the semi-finals and finals which is good. Craig Tiley and Daniel Andrews, the Premier of Victoria are very close, very tight, and it’s just the way it goes in Australia.
I don’t think it changes the dynamic of the tournament too much because the players are shut off, they are in a bubble anyway, so for them not much will change except for the crowd and the dynamic of the tournament shouldn’t be interrupted at all.
07:30 - What you missed overnight
Serena Williams and Naomi Osaka secure wins in Melbourne in the third round and much, much more...
What You Missed: Serena and Osaka secure victories in Melbourne
"That’s what I was most of proud of in 2020 during the pandemic – for the players to play in front of no people at the US Open and just a few people at the French Open, you could not tell the difference in the player – they were behaving the same way.
"I didn’t see any change in body language from anyone. The intensity is there, the players are used to it and I think we are learning that.
Yes, they enjoy the crowd of course, but they don’t need the crowd to play their best tennis. At least, not the majority of players.
World number one Ash Barty withdrew from the Australian Open doubles on Friday, raising concerns over her fitness for the singles as she manages a thigh strain.
Barty played with her left thigh heavily strapped in her second round win over fellow Australian Daria Gavrilova but downplayed the injury on Thursday, saying she was "fit as a fiddle."
She and American Jennifer Brady were scheduled to play in the second round of the women's doubles on Friday but withdrew from the match, handing Elise Mertens and Aryna Sabalenka a walkover.
Top seed Barty, who made the semi-finals last year, is bidding to end Australia's 43-year wait for a home winner at the Grand Slam.
06:20 - Zverev: I will do everything to win here
"Very happy. Adrian is someone I've played three times in the last year. Every time it was a very long match. Today I felt a bit lazy.
"I thought maybe I would hit the ball harder so we wouldn't have to play for four hours so you guys don't have to sit in the sun so all good. This is the most awkward I've felt on court this year so far by the way!
"I know today is the last day we may play with a crowd. I hope Wednesday or Thursday it gets better. It's been fun.
The US Open was one of the greatest moments of my career but also one of the toughest. I was two points away from winning my first grand slam so I still have that in my head. I'm going to do everything I can to make it happen here maybe.
06:05 - Clinical Zverev cruises past Mannarino
Alexander Zverev cruises into the fourth round of the Australian Open after a 6-3, 6-3, 6-1 win over number 32 seed Adrian Mannarino on Rod Laver Arena.
The pair squared off for the fourth time in less than six months with the German holding a 3-1 record. Mannarino did win a set in each one but he could not do anything significant against the sixth seed in Melbourne as Zverev outclassed his French opponent.
Zverev will play either Pedro Martinez or Dusan Lajovic in the last-16.
05:55 - Osaka nervous of Jabeur's drop shot
“For me it was really fun," she said post-match. "I was really nervous and scared because I didn’t know if she was going to hit a drop shot on any ball so I felt kind of rushed, but I hope you guys enjoyed the match.
“A couple of years ago I think I said I really like your ‘Aussie Aussie Aussie, Oi Oi Oi’ chant. I remember when I first came here I was just walking from the stands and I remember clapping with everyone.
"It was super fun. I want to thank you guys for watching the match.”
05:50 - Osaka beats Jabeur
Number three seed Naomi Osaka is into the last-16 of the Australian Open with a 6-3 6-2 win over Tunisia’s Ons Jabeur on Melbourne Arena.
Osaka laid down eight aces and she proved too powerful for Jabeur, who last year reached the quarter-finals to become the most successful Arab woman in majors, in the baseline battle.
The 2019 Australian Open winner will now face Spaniard Garbine Muguruza in a heavyweight clash.
05:30 - Osaka a break up, Zverev surging
Osaka broke the Jabeur serve before holding her service game. Jabeur is struggling to handle Osaka's power.
Zverev, with his fifth break point in the third game, seals it so he is now a set and a break up against the number 32 seed.
05:15 - Osaka wins the first set
Osaka shows great composure to go a break up and then see the set off with some powerful ground-strokes that Jabeur could not match.
Osaka leads 6-3.
05:05 - Jabeur cancels out Osaka break
A Jabeur forehand into the net gives Osaka the first break of the match. She leads 4-2 and the Tunisian is visibly frustrated at giving that one away having played so well up until then.
Jabeur breaks back in the following game, though, with a devastating backhand down the line straight off Osaka's serve.
05:00 - Zverev takes first set
It's been relatively comfortable for Zverev so far against Mannarino. The German takes the opening set, breaking the Frenchman in the fifth game before clinching the opener on his first set point.
It's proving tougher for Osaka who leads Jabeur 3-2 and still on serve, but she's had to save five break points already.
04:36 - Osaka underway
Japanese number three seed Osaka wins her opening service game to kick off her third-round tie against Tunisia's Ons Jabeur, already slamming down four aces.
Osaka neutralised former world number four Caroline Garcia in the last round to extend her winning streak to 16 matches.
Last year, it was here in Melbourne where Jabeur reached the quarter-finals and became the most successful Arab woman in majors.
04:21 - Zverev on court
Alexander Zverev and Adrian Mannarino square off for the fourth time in less than six months as they face each other today.
The top-ranked German won all those three matches, including once in a slam at the US Open, but the Frenchman did well to win a set in each of those matches.
04:12 - Carreno Busta retires, Dimitrov through
Grigor Dimitrov is into the last-16 of the Australian Open after Pablo Carreño Busta pulls out as a result of illness at 6-0 1-0.
The Bulgarian will play the winner of Dominic Thiem vs Nick Kyrgios in the next round.
04:08 - Serena: It's about surviving
“It feels good to be in the fourth round," she said post-match.
"It felt good to get through that match, it felt like I didn’t come out of the starting blocks like I would’ve liked to since I’ve been playing here but it’s about surviving and playing better every round."
On her outfit: “It’s so wild I keep debating which one is the best, I think this is one of the best ones. I keep thinking ‘how do I outdo it?’ but I think we outdid it this time it was pretty awesome.
“Nike had this incredible idea. I can’t take any credit for it. They came out with something fresh and were inspired by Flo-Jo who was an amazing American track star and she did have the one that was a little bit higher [on the leg] but I opted not to have that because I didn’t want to get any more fines. I thought it was best I had more of a leg out.”
On her daughter: “I’ve been talking to her about playing doubles with her here one day. She technically already has a title. It was only the thing we could do for a whole year socially-distanced with Covid so I thought ‘I would never put my daughter in tennis’ but then I think it’s the best socially distanced sport that she can play. She has a coach now and it’s a lot of fun. Her coach is awesome and a lot of fun.
"I’m thinking ‘my three-year-old daughter has a coach how ridiculous is that!'"
03:55 - Serena through
Former world number one Serena Williams battles her way into the last-16 of the Australian Open after a scrappy 7-6(5) 6-2 win over Anastasia Potapova on Rod Laver Arena.
Williams, pursuing her 24th Grand Slam, had parted with just five games to reach the third round, but she was forced into her first tie-break of the tournament in the first set after a slow start against her Russian opponent.
Serena improved as the contest progressed and will play in-form Aryna Sabalenka in the next round.
03:40 - Serena closing on victory
Potapova looks to be running out of steam here as Serena goes a break up and is looking more like her usual self. Serena leads 7-5(5) 4-1 and is closing in on the next round.
The winner of this one faces in-form Aryna Sabalenka in the last-16.
Dimitrov, who has played great all tournament, has bagelled Carreno Busta in their match. It's 6-0 on Margaret Court Arena.
03:35 - Highlights: Muguruza vs Diyas
03:30 - Serena battling
After Potapova broke in the opening game of the second set, once again Serena broke straight back and we're level on serve in a game which featured a remarkable 20-shot rally which left the American in fits of laughter.
Serena leads 7-6(4) 2-1 after 74 minutes of enthralling action on Rod Laver Arena.
03:20 - Serena wins first set!
After 61 minutes Serena comes back from 5-3 down in the tie-break to take it 7-5.
It's quite remarkable from the number ten seed. Potapova, meanwhile, will be kicking herself.
Grigor Dimitrov has begun his match against Spain's Pablo Carreno Busta on Margaret Court Arena.
After beating Marin Cilic in the first round, Dimitrov produced his best performance of the season to clear a tricky test in straight sets against Alex Bolt and is yet to drop a set this slam.
Carreno Busta knocked out Kei Nishikori and Jiri Vesely to get to this point.
03:15 - We're into a tie-break
Potapova is 3-2 up in the tie-break against Serena. Can the 19-year-old spring a surprise here and take the lead?
03:05 - No more crowds at AO
Some big news coming out of Australia this morning...
Melbourne will enter a five-day snap coronavirus lockdown, authorities said on Friday, barring spectators from the Australian Open.
A fresh Covid-19 cluster linked to a quarantine hotel in Melbourne, the capital of Victoria state, reached 13 cases as of Thursday midnight as authorities rushed to quash the spread of the virus.
Victoria Premier Daniel Andrews announced the lockdown for the state, calling it a "short, sharp circuit breaker" banning public gatherings, home auctions, weddings and religious gatherings.
"There will be no crowds" at sporting events in the state, Andrews said.
The tournament runs until February 21. Crowds had already been limited to 50% of usual capacity for the Grand Slam event.
03:00 - Serena survives
Potapova breaks Serena again in the eighth game and gets herself two set points in the following service game, but she squanders them and Serena clings on to make it 5-4 in the opening set.
Potapova has doubled faulted seven times in this opening set.
02:56 - Muguruza: I played smarter
"I felt good out here,” she said post-match. "We played a year ago and it was a really tough match so I’m happy.
"I played a little bit smarter than last time and I could win in two sets.
"I know people think very far for us it is just about match after match. That is how you get to the last rounds you cannot think too far ahead.
"I have one match after another and I have to win each time I come out on court. I think I played well and we won it my team and I so we’re going to try our best.”
Muguruza will play Ons Jabeur or Naomi Osaka in the last-16.
'I played a little bit smarter' - Muguruza's post-match interview
02:52 - Muguruza through
That was very easy for Muguruza. Last year's runner-up is into the last-16 with a 6-1, 6-1 win as Diyas hits her forehand return into the net. The Kazakh had no answer to that onslaught.
02:50 - Serena breaks straight back
That's the sign of a champion, how you bounce back from adversity. Serena does so by breaking straight back as Potapova plays a looping shot into the trams.
Serena is not making light work of this. Potapova is pushing her hard in most points.
02:45 - Potapova breaks!
After SIX break points Potapova finally breaks with a nifty sliced backhand at the net. Potapova playing really well here. Serena looks shell-shocked.
Meanwhile Muguruza is a game away from a place in the lsat-16 as she leads 6-1, 5-1 against Diyas. The Spaniard has outclassed her unseeded opponent.
02:28 - Two break points saved
Potapova has started well. She goes 1-0 up before grabbing three break points in total in Serena's opening service game. However, Serena recovers to hold in the eight-minute game and we're still on serve.
02:10 - Out on court
Serena and Potapova are warming up. Serena is unsurprisingly the heavy favourite to win this one.
Should she do so she will face Aryna Sabalenka in the last-16 in her pursuit for a 24th Grand Slam singles title.
01:55 - Muguruza underway
The number 14 seed Garbine Muguruza is underway against Kazakhstan's Zarina Diyas over on Margaret Court Arena.
Two-time major champion Muguruza has a 14-2 record in the third round of Grand Slams.
Serena Williams is coming up very shortly we promise.
Highlights: Serena storms past Stojanovic to reach third round
01:25 - Serena coming up
Serena Williams takes on Russia's Anastasia Potapova on Rod Laver next having dropped just five games en route to the third round.
These two met in the Australian Open last year. Serena won it 6-0, 6-3 in what was a first round match in 58 minutes.
01:20 - Sabalenka: I feel a little pressure
"It was a great game," Sabalenka said post-match. "Li is young but she is playing really well played a really great game. I was just trying to stay focused because it was really quick and fast so I'm really happy I could win this match.
"I really want to play well in the Grand Slams and go as far as I can. Sometimes staying in Melbourne Park I feel a little pressure.
"I'm trying to come out on the big stadiums and play my best and then go do my business and try and rest from all the atmosphere. But I really enjoyed it."
'I feel a little pressure' - Sabalenka after cruising past Li
01:15 - Sabalenka into the AO last-16 for the first time
She's done it. Aryna Sabalenka blitzes her way into the last-16 of the Australian Open after producing an outstanding 6-3, 6-1 win in one hour over unseeded American Ann Li on Rod Laver Arena.
The 22-year-old will face the winner of Anastasia Potapova vs Serena Williams in the next round.
You would be fearful if you are either Potapova or Serena quite frankly.
01:10 - One game away
Sabalenka is just a game away from reaching the last-16 of the Australian Open for the first time in her career. She break's Li's service game for the second time in the second set and looks set to close it out.
01:00 - Sabalenka rolls the dice
Very bold stuff from Sabalenka. She saved four break points with a powerful second serve, a drilled backhand, a forehand winner and an ace en route to holding her service game.
The 22-year-old Belarusian leads 4-1 in the second set.
00:50 - Sabalenka breaks in set two
Sabalenka races to three break points at 1-0 up in the second set and she takes it on the second attempt with a ferocious forehand return.
She is running away with this despite Li actually doing very little wrong. Sabalenka has simply been dominant.
00:45 - Sabalenka wins the set 6-3
It's a superb set for Sabalenka who is overpowering Li with her serving and strikes from the baseline, winning 82 per cent of her points on her first serve.
She wins the opener on Li's service game in half an hour.
00:40 - Kyrgios on Thiem
Today the mercurial Australian Nick Kyrgios takes on 2020 US Open champion Dominic Thiem in the third round on John Cain Arena in what is set to be a fascinating encounter.
Kyrgios has been speaking ahead of the tie. He has plenty of respect for the Austrian 👇
Kyrgios on Thiem: I actually have a lot of respect for him
00:25 - Sabalenka breaks
Li has not done much wrong, but the Belarusan produces a love break to go 3-2 up in the opening set. Sabalenka's blistering forehand is causing the American problems.
00:15 - We are underway!
In-form Aryna Sabalenka has matched her best Australian Open result after starting with a break deficit against Daria Kasatkina to beat the top 10 player 7-6, 6-3.
Before that she beat Viktoria Kuzmova, 6-0, 6-4 to get past the Australian Open opening round for the second time in her career.
Sabalenka is currently on a 15-match winning streak with title runs at Ostrava, Linz, and Abu Dhabi.
Li gets us started, taking the opening game on her serve.
00:00 - Here we go!
Day 5 begins and we have a cracker in store with Serena Williams, Naomi Osaka, Novak Djokovic and Dominic Thiem just a few of the big names in action.
Expect fireworks in Thiem vs Nick Kyrgios later on.
First up, the seventh seed Aryna Sabalenka takes on American Ann Li on Rod Laver Arena.
Look no further than John Cain Arena. Nick Kyrgios returns to his favourite court, in front of his home fans, looking to create more fireworks against third seed Dominic Thiem. They have only met each other once, six years ago, in a match which the Austrian won after a first set retirement from Kyrgios, so it is almost impossible to guess which way this one will go.
Serena Williams looks to continue her impressive start when she takes on Anastasia Potapova, while Novak Djokovic may find things tricky against big-serving American Taylor Fritz, after admitting the courts in Melbourne are playing fast this year.
Keep an eye as well on the all-Canadian clash between up-and-coming stars Denis Shapovalov and Felix Auger-Aliassime.
Order of play, singles - Friday 12 February
Rod Laver Arena
Day session - midnight UK time
Aryna Sabalenka (BLR)  v Ann Li (USA)
Anastasia Potapova (RUS) v Serena Williams (USA) 
Adrian Mannarino (FRA)  V Alexander Zverev (GER) 
Night session - 8am UK time
Veronika Kudermetova (RUS)  v Simona Halep (ROM) 
Novak Djokovic (SRB)  v Taylor Fritz (USA) 
Margaret Court Arena
Day session - midnight UK time
Marketa Vondrousova (CZE)  v Sorana Cirstea (ROM)
Garbine Muguruza (ESP)  v Zarina Diyas (KAZ)
Grigor Dimitrov (BGR)  v Pablo Carreno Busta (ESP) 
Night session - 8am UK time
Denis Shapovalov (CAN)  v Felix Auger-Aliassime (CAN) 
Iga Swiatek (POL)  v Fiona Ferro (FRA)
John Cain Arena
Day session - midnight UK time
Su-Wei Hsieh (TPE) v Sara Errani (ITA)
Ons Jabeur (TUN)  v Naomi Osaka (JPN) 
Aslan Karatsev (RUS) v Diego Schwartzman (ARG) 
Not before 8am UK time
Dominic Thiem (AUT)  v Nick Kyrgios (AUS)
For the full order of play including the outside courts, check out the official Australian Open website.