Five quick hits from the Australian Open: Doubles into semifinals, Coco Gauff’s fruit salad and Novak Djokovic plays in the heat

Five quick hits from the Australian Open: Doubles into semifinals, Coco Gauff’s fruit salad and Novak Djokovic plays in the heat
  • PublishedJanuary 24, 2024

Two all-Australian mixed doubles teams have made it through to the semifinals of their home grand slam.

Coco Gauff discussed why she has a simple fruit salad instead of energy gels.

Meanwhile, Novak Djokovic plays in the Melbourne sun while Jannik Sinner makes it to the final four at Melbourne Park for the first time. 

Here are five quick hits from day 10 at Melbourne Park.

1. Aussie duos through to semifinals of the mixed doubles

The dream remains alive for local hopefuls at the Australian Open with two wildcard pairs advancing to the semifinals of the mixed doubles.

A day after upsetting top seeds Storm Hunter and Matthew Ebden, Jaimee Fourlis and Andrew Harris took down highly fancied duo Laura Siegemund and Sander Gille.

The Australian pair won 7-5, 7-5 to book their spot in the last four against third seeds Su-Wei Hsieh and Jan Zielinski.

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Fourlis will be hoping to go one better than in 2022, when she lost the mixed doubles final at Melbourne Park with compatriot Jason Kubler.

They could meet another Australian duo in the decider after fellow wildcards Olivia Gadecki and Marc Polmans stunned sixth seeds Gabriela Dabrowski and Nathaniel Lammons 6-4, 7-6(9-7) to progress to the semifinals.

Although the last Australian singles player, Alex de Minaur, bowed out in the fourth round, Melbourne Park has proved a happy slam for the country’s doubles players.

Nick Kyrgios and Thanasi Kokkinakis famously “rolled off the couch” to win the men’s doubles at the Australian Open in 2022, beating fellow Australians Ebden and Max Purcell.

Reigning men’s champions Kubler and Rinky Hijikata fell in three sets in the second round, ending their title defence.

2. Coco’s fruit salad does the trick

It’s hard sometimes to remember that Coco Gauff is just 19 years old, since she’s been playing in the majors for years.

The 2023 US Open champion is out to add to her tally with victory at Melbourne Park, and she is two steps away after a tough three-set win over Ukraine’s Marta Kostyuk, 7-6(8/6), 6-7(7/3), 6-2.

One of the more curious aspects of Gauff’s tennis has nothing to do on-court, it is what she consumes during breaks.

The American enjoys a fruit salad, in an era where gels have become popular.

Female tennis player Coco Gauff sitting on her courtside bench, eating fruit
Coco Gauff eating fruit between games at the Australian Open.(Getty Images: Darrian Traynor)

Coco’s reasoning for the fruit salad — she has always done it.

“Growing up, when I was training at academy, my mum or my dad … mostly mum, would pack coolers for me, so I could, like, be able to practice all day and then they consisted of like fruit snacks or fruit, apple sauce and Gatorade,” she said.

“Why change something that always works? A lot of people like to use the gels and the fancy stuff. But I just like the natural fruit.

“I never really get tired, even after a long match. It is working.”

3. Sinner makes it through to first semi in Melbourne

Jannie Sinner, in a white cap and light marron shirt, punches the air and screams in celebration
Jannik Sinner beats Andrey Rublev at Rod Laver Arena.(Getty Images: Cameron Spencer)

Italian star Jannik Sinner is through to his second grand slam semifinal after overcoming Russian fifth seed Andrey Rublev in a late-night slugfest at the Australian Open.

The two heavy hitters went toe-to-toe on Rod Laver Arena, but the in-form Sinner proved too strong and secured a 6-4, 7-6(7-5), 6-3 win in a match that finished at 1:22 am on Wednesday.

Sinner will meet 10-time Australian Open champion Novak Djokovic in a blockbuster semifinal on Friday night.

The 22-year-old lost to Djokovic in the corresponding match at Wimbledon last year but Sinner did beat the world number one twice at the end of 2023.

“I’m really lucky to face him again. This is one of the biggest tournaments in the world and happy that I can play against the number one in the world,” Sinner said.

“It’s going to be tough, but the only thing that I can control is that I will give my 100 per cent and I will fight for every ball.”

Sinner tops his best previous result at Melbourne — a straight-sets quarterfinal loss against Greek star Stefanos Tsitsipas in 2022.

4. Novak Djokovic wins in the heat

Novak Djokovic is through to his 11th semifinal at Melbourne Park after defeating American Taylor Fritz in four sets.

The 10-time Australian Open champion was pushed hard for his win and the Serbian also dealt with something unfamiliar at Melbourne Park — the sun.

Novak Djokovic, in white shirt, sitting down next to the court, with a white towel over his next, holding a drink bottle
Novak Djokovic was feeling the heat at Rod Laver Arena against Taylor Fritz.(Getty Images: Cameron Spencer)

It has been a very long time since Djokovic played a match at the Australian Open in sunlight. 

His fourth round match against Tomas Martin Etcheverry two days prior ended a 15-match streak of night sessions at Melbourne Park. 

But even the fourth round clash was not a true day experience for the 24-time grand slam champion, with rain forcing the roof on Rod Laver Arena to be closed.

“It was extremely hot while the sun was still out there,” he said following the win against Fritz.

“Physically very draining, emotionally as well.”

Despite covering himself with ice and towels during breaks in play, Djokovic still showed his fitness and conditioning are at the highest level.


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