Australian Open Day 5 Recap: Best Day in Tournament History?

Iga Swiatek in action at the 2022 Australian Open.

Grand Slams always produce the best tennis throughout the season, but Day 5 of the 2024 Australian Open took it all one step further. It was a day that started play at 11 a.m. and finished at 3;39 a.m., setting a record for the fifth-latest match completion in recorded history. It made history for the longest Grand Slam tiebreak taking place, in the Rod Laver Arena primetime match nonetheless. Out of 32 singles matches on the schedule, only eight finished in straight sets. Three of the men’s five-set matches went to deciding tiebreaks, two of them occurred at the exact same time.

With all the epic tennis taking place, LWOT ranks the top 10 matches from Day 5 of the Australian Open. For the tennis aficionado excited by long, intense matches, this could have been the greatest day in Australian Open history.

Australian Open Day 5 Recap

10. Miomir Kecmanovic d. Jan-Lennard Stuff 6-4 1-6 7-6 (5) 1-6 7-6 (9)

Both players fired countless winners in this exciting encounter, combining for 141 of them. The match was rather quick for a fifth-set tiebreak showdown, ending in just over three hours. Fast-paced tennis made up much of the match, with Kecmanovic eventually hitting a backhand winner on a 33-shot rally to win the match.

9. Wang Yafan d. Emma Raducanu 6-4 4-6 6-4

Raducanu’s comeback campaign was again halted on Day 5, but she brought great fighting spirit against Wang Yafan. Wang defended flawlessly from the baseline, allowing Raducanu’s groundstrokes to break down. Raducanu felt sick throughout the third set, while she tried to fight back from a difficult deficit. Wang’s win means she’ll debut in the third round of a Grand Slam for the first time.

8. Sloane Stephens d. Daria Kasatkina 4-6 6-3 6-3

Quality-wise, both players hit more unforced errors than winners and missed shots at crucial points in the match. However, the drama and intensity made up for the stats. Stephens, who has traditionally struggled at this tournament, claimed her first Top 20 win in Melbourne since her stunning upset of Serena Williams at the 2013 Australian Open. Stephens hit a backhand passing shot to finish up the big win.

7. Hubert Hurkacz d. Jakub Mensik 6-7 (9) 6-1 5-7 6-1 6-3

Jakub Mensik was noted as a player to watch during the 2024 Australian Open, and his efforts against Hurkacz prove he has the weapons to make noise on tour. There wasn’t a lot to separate the pair, with both players serving well and firing winner after winner from the baseline. Mensik, at just 18 years old, used his explosiveness to get the crowd on his side. Yet, Hurkacz’s experience gradually wore down the younger player on the court.

6. Casper Ruud d. Max Purcell 6-3 6-7 (5) 6-3 3-6 7-6 (7)

Ruud was pushed to the absolute limits in this match, having to counter Purcell’s talented net-based game. Purcell hit an incredible 93 winners in the match, while Ruud hit 44 winners to just 19 unforced errors. Deep in a fifth-set tiebreaker, Ruud hit a stunning forehand around the net to control the final minutes of the match. This battle occurred as another fifth-set tiebreaker took place, where Alexander Zverev took on Lukas Klein at John Cain Arena. On a normal day of tennis, Zverev’s match would be the match of the day.

5. Carlos Alcaraz d. Lorenzo Sonego 6-4 6-7 (3) 6-3 7-6 (3)

Alcaraz lost to Sonego in the only previous meeting they had, at the 2021 Cincinnati Open, and there were times that it seemed possible for Sonego to pull off another upset. The Spaniard had to bring his best tennis and powered through Sonego in four thrilling sets. The match featured two around-the-net winners from Alcaraz, stunning net play and intense conclusions to the second and fourth set. For the first time in Alcaraz’s career, he’ll play an opponent younger than him in the third round, against 18-year-old Jerry Shang.

4. Arthur Cazaux d. Holger Rune 7-6 (4) 6-4 4-6 6-3

Holger Rune seemed like a potential “Top 8 bust” this tournament due to his struggles at the end of 2023, but the Dane didn’t lose this match. Cazaux won the match with his fearless tennis, hitting 51 winners in just three hours. The match marks Cazaux’s first Top 10 win, in just his debut Australian Open event. Ranked 112th, Cazaux will just knock on the door of a Top 100 debut after his victory. It’s only a matter of time before that debut occurs.

3. Daniil Medvedev d. Emil Ruusuvuori 3-6 6-7 (1) 6-4 7-6 (1) 6-0

It was only natural that Medvedev, one of the biggest warriors on tour, ended the day’s action with a 4h21 thriller. His tennis slowly got better throughout the match, as Ruusuvuori’s power-hitting game started to wear off. Medvedev was two points from losing the match in the fourth set, yet played a flawless tiebreaker late in the set to hold on. The World No. 3 then cruised through the final set, with his serve helping him out. The match ended remarkably at 3:39 a.m., as it trails only four matches as the latest finish in tennis history. It finished approximately 20 minutes before the Andy Murray vs. Thanasi Kokkinakis epic ended at the 2023 Australian Open.

2. Iga Swiatek d. Danielle Collins 6-4 3-6 6-4

Swiatek seemed to be the first casualty of a wild Day 5, as Danielle Collins played some of her best tennis throughout the match. Swiatek was on the ropes midway through the third set, trailing by a double-break. Yet, the Pole clawed her way back with clutch shots and consistent serving, while Collins faded away towards the end of the match. The final game of the match was dramatic, with multiple winners and intense rallies. Even more dramatic, Collins announced her upcoming retirement after the match concluded. The win extended Swiatek’s streak to 18 matches, and with the collapsing draw around her, she should like her chances going forward. Or could she be the next big name to fall this tournament?

1. Anna Blinkova d. Elena Rybakina 6-4 4-6  7-6 (20)

This match may end up being on the list of best matches of the 2024 WTA season, and it could very well go down as one of the greatest WTA matches of all time. Rybakina had the better stats, hitting 44 winners to 46 unforced errors, while Blinkova hit 28 winners to 48 unforced errors. But Blinkova fought exceptionally well in what became the longest-ever Grand Slam tiebreaker, saving six match points and showing incredible resilience. Her two notable match point saves came at 11-12 down in the tiebreak when she hit a cracking forehand down the line; at 17-18 down, she defended brilliantly to stay in the point and fired up the crowd. After an insane 32-minute and 42-point tiebreak, Rybakina’s missed backhand long sealed Blinkova’s biggest-ever career victory.

Main Photo Credit: Mike Frey-USA TODAY Sports


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