Sunday, 21 July, 2019

Midnight run: Muguruza edges Konta at 3 a.m. in Australia

Britain's Johanna Konta plays a backhand return to Spain's Garbine Muguruza during their women's singles match on day four of the Australian Open Britain's Johanna Konta plays a backhand return to Spain's Garbine Muguruza during their women's singles match on day four of the Australian Open
Andrew Wong | 20 January, 2019, 08:58

After her victory, The Telegraph reports that Muguruza said: "I think I'll go for breakfast now".

Johanna Konta and Garbine Muguruza have been forced to play the latest-starting match in Australian Open history after a number of marathon matches and a freakish bird poo fiasco caused scheduling chaos.

In comments reported by the BBC, British number one Konta, who lost the match 6-4 6-7 (3-7) 7-5, said such late matches were "dangerous".

"They had to clean the court".

The players began their contest after midnight, following Alexander Zverev's five-set victory against Frenchman Jeremy Chardy, which lasted almost four hours and ran late into the evening on Thursday. Her match had been delayed for several hours by two inordinately long men's matches earlier in the day - Kei Nishikori and Alexander Zverev both needed five sets and the best part of four hours to reach the third round - and by a group of incontinent birds.

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"We play for you guys, otherwise why are we here, for what?"

It was not until the 12th game that Muguruza forced the first break point of the set, a match point, and took it to set up a third-round clash with Timea Bacsinszky. "There was basically seagull poo everywhere", she said.

"It was very tough".

The match started at 12.30am due to rain delays and previous lengthy matches - it's the latest a match has ever started at this tournament.

The latest end to a match at any Grand Slam was also at Melbourne Park in 2008, when Lleyton Hewitt and Marcos Baghdatis finished a five-setter at 4.34am.

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But the last Grand Slam meeting between Konta and Muguruza lasted three hours and 23 minutes, back at the US Open in 2015. 'They're going to try to help you out with scheduling the next time that you play maybe later in the evening again, so you stay somewhat in that rhythm.

World number one Novak Djokovic, whose match against Jo-Wilfried Tsonga also ended in the early hours of Friday, had little sympathy for the women's plight.

"You get to this kind of particular situation where you wait for hours and hours and hours, then you are about to make the decision whether you want to go out on the court or not".

"I mean, I seriously can't believe there are people watching us at 3:15", Muguruza said on court.

"I think as tennis players you have to be flexible, especially in the head". Like, you just have to get it done.

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