Ruthless Swiatek Leads Women's Seeds into Last 16 of Australian Open, Organizers Defend Late Finish Criticized by Murray

 - World Soccer Today -

World number one Iga Swiatek led the charge of women's seeds into the last 16 of the Australian Open on Friday, as organizers defended what Andy Murray called his "farce" of a 4:05 am finish. 

The American Coco Gauff and Jessica Pegula were also big winners, ensuring that normal order was resumed on day five at Melbourne Park following the shocks of a day earlier. 

Swiatek, a three-time major winner but chasing a first Australian Open title, defeated qualifier Cristina Bucsa of Spain 6-0, 6-1. 

She faces Wimbledon champion Elena Rybakina next. 

18-year-old Gauff stepped up her bid for a maiden major title with a similarly emphatic 6-3, 6-2 victory over fellow American Bernarda Pera. 

Third seed Pegula, who is also chasing a first Grand Slam crown, also made light work of Marta Kostyuk with a 6-0, 6-2 victory. 

On the men's side, third seed Stefanos Tsitsipas kept his unbeaten streak this year intact to set up a last-16 clash with Italian Jannik Sinner.

Off the court, Australian Open chief Craig Tiley defended the scheduling, despite criticism from Murray and others, after the second-latest finish at a Grand Slam ever, saying that such late matches did not happen often and that it was not necessary to alter the scheduling.

 He also added that if they put only one match at night, there would be no options for fans or broadcasters if there was an injury. 

Meanwhile, Titsipas, the highest seed left on the men's side, warned that there are no presents in the tournament and that players should aim big and sometimes surpass their own abilities. 

The tournament continues with Felix Auger-Aliassime, the Canadian sixth seed, beating Francisco Cerundolo of Argentina in four sets, and later on Friday, two-time Melbourne runner-up Daniil Medvedev of Russia faces dangerous 29th seed Sebastian Korda of the United States.

 Hot favorite Novak Djokovic, the record nine-time Australian Open champion, plays 27th seed Grigor Dimitrov on Saturday.

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