Murray, Djokovic to face pain and agony at Australian Open

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Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic will need to get their bodies back into action as they both try to reach the fourth round of the Australian Open on Saturday.

It remains to be seen how much Murray, 35, has left in the tank after making round three by winning a five-set marathon that ended at 4:05 a.m. on Friday.

The former unseeded in the world, who also played five sets in his first match at Melbourne Park, will have to fight fatigue and his metal hip against the 24th seed Roberto Bautista Agut.

Three-time Grand Slam champion Murray, whose career seemed to be over a few years ago due to a hip injury, took five hours and 45 minutes to beat Australia’s Thanasi Kokkinakis.

Murray was back at Melbourne Park training just eight hours after his night’s end, and the 66th-ranked Briton will need to battle his Spanish foe.

Murray’s old rival Djokovic is clear favorite to win the Australian Open for a record 22nd Grand Slam, but there are concerns about his left hamstring.

The Serb faces a potentially tough test against 27th seed Grigor Dimitrov.

After a four-set victory over French champion Enzo Couacaud on Thursday, the 35-year-old admitted that he cannot work between matches.

He needed medical time-out and was heavy on his thigh.

“I’m worried, I have reason to be worried,” Djokovic said of an injury he’s been dealing with since coming to Melbourne.

“My situation with my injury is not great… I have to take it day by day.

“I’m not working in the days in between because I’m trying to give myself more time for my leg to be in a bit better shape.”

With defending champion Rafael Nadal and last year’s runner-up Daniil Medvedev both out, as well as world number one Carlos Alcaraz missing with injury, the title is Djokovic’s to lose.

In other third-round matches, fifth-seeded Andrey Rublev of Russia will face Britain’s 25th-seeded Dan Evans.

Holger Rune, an exciting Danish teenager, is also in action, the ninth seed up against France’s Ugo Humbert.

Aryna Sabalenka and Caroline Garcia will be at the women’s main matches on the six days of the first major of the year.

France’s fourth seed Garcia should prove too much for unseeded Germany’s Laura Siegemund.

Tough Belarusian Sabalenka, the fifth seed who has looked infamous so far, faces a test in the form of 26th seed Elise Mertens.

Also playing is Olympic champion and 12th seed Belinda Bencic.

She faces unseeded Italian Camila Giorgi.


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