The 2014 Australian Open has the look of being the most memorable one in recent years.
There has been plenty of drama through five days of action. Venus Williams got the boot in the first round, while sister Serena made more history. John Isner took a bow due to an ankle injury. Blinding heat has scorched participants and spectators alike.
That all goes without mentioning the countless storylines in the midst of unfolding. Serena Williams is marching toward more history but must overcome Victoria Azarenka first. Novak Djokovic is on the hunt for history as well by claiming four straight Australian Opens.
Suffice it to say, tennis fans will want to catch the remainder of the action from Melbourne.
|Friday, Jan. 17||3 p.m. - 6 p.m.||Early round||ESPN2|
|Friday, Jan. 17||7 p.m. - 9 p.m.||Third round||Tennis Channel|
|Friday, Jan. 17||9 p.m. - 7 a.m.||Early round||ESPN2|
|Saturday, Jan. 18||9 a.m. - noon||Early round||ESPN2|
|Saturday, Jan. 18||7 p.m. - 9 p.m.||Round of 16||Tennis Channel|
|Saturday, Jan. 18||9 p.m. - 2 a.m.||Round of 16||ESPN2|
|Saturday, Jan. 18||3 a.m. - 7 a.m.||Round of 16||ESPN2|
|Sunday, Jan. 19||11 a.m. - 3 p.m.||Round of 16||ESPN2|
|Sunday, Jan. 19||7 p.m. - 9 p.m.||Round of 16||Tennis Channel|
|Sunday, Jan. 19||9 p.m. - 2 a.m.||Round of 16||ESPN2|
|Sunday, Jan. 19||3 a.m. - 6:30 a.m.||Round of 16||ESPN2|
|Monday, Jan. 20||7 p.m. - 9 p.m.||Quarterfinals||Tennis Channel|
|Monday, Jan. 20||9 p.m. - 2 a.m.||Quarterfinals||ESPN2|
|Monday, Jan. 20||3 a.m. - 5:30 a.m.||Quarterfinals||ESPN2|
|Tuesday, Jan. 21||3 p.m. - 6 p.m.||Quarterfinals||ESPN2|
|Tuesday, Jan. 21||7 p.m. - 9 p.m.||Quarterfinals||Tennis Channel|
|Tuesday, Jan. 21||9 p.m. - 2 a.m.||Quarterfinals||ESPN2|
|Tuesday, Jan. 21||3:30 a.m. - 6 a.m.||Quarterfinals||ESPN2|
|Wednesday, Jan. 22||3 p.m. - 6 p.m.||Quarterfinals||ESPN2|
|Wednesday, Jan. 22||7 p.m. - 9:30 p.m.||TBA||Tennis Channel|
|Wednesday, Jan. 22||9:30 p.m. - 2 a.m.||Women's semifinals||ESPN2|
|Wednesday, Jan. 22||3:30 a.m. - 6 a.m.||Men's semifinal No. 1||ESPN|
|Thursday, Jan. 23||2 p.m. - 6 p.m.||Men's semifinal No. 1||ESPN2|
|Thursday, Jan. 23||11 p.m. - 3 a.m.||Women's doubles final||Tennis Channel|
|Thursday, Jan. 23||3:30 a.m. - 6 a.m.||Men's semifinal No. 2||ESPN|
|Friday, Jan. 24||2 p.m. - 6 p.m.||Men's semifinal No. 2||ESPN2|
|Friday, Jan. 24||3 a.m. - 5:30 a.m.||Women's championship||ESPN|
|Saturday, Jan. 25||5:30 a.m. - 7:30 a.m.||Men's doubles final||Tennis Channel|
|Saturday, Jan. 25||9 a.m. - 11 a.m.||Women's championship||ESPN2|
|Saturday, Jan. 25||3 a.m. - 6:30 a.m.||Men's championship||ESPN|
|Sunday, Jan. 26||9 a.m. - 2 p.m.||Men's championship||ESPN2|
|Sunday, Jan. 26||12 a.m. - 2 a.m.||Mixed doubles final||Tennis Channel|
Note: Complete bracket with matchups can be found on the tournament's official site.
Serena Williams Continues Historic March Toward Clash with Victoria Azarenka
Williams has 17 Grand Slam titles to her name. She is coming off a season in which she won 11 singles tournaments and was subsequently named The Associated Press' female athlete of the year.
That momentum has carried over to the contest in Melbourne. She has now won 25 straight matches, with the latest being a Day 5 domination over No. 31 Daniela Hantuchova, as the tournament's Twitter detailed:
Hantuchova confirmed Williams' impressive momentum:
"I always go into matches thinking it'll be my day.She played very well on the important points, it made a difference" #Hantuchova on Serena— Australian Open (@AustralianOpen) January 17, 2014
Williams made history with the victory. Win No. 61 all time in the tournament is a women's record, per SportsCenter:
Serena Williams beats Daniela Hantuchova in straight sets in 3rd Rd. Her 61 match wins are now most all-time at #AusOpen (passing M. Court).— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) January 17, 2014
She is not satisfied yet. She must find a way to overcome Victoria Azarenka, who has won the past two tournaments in Melbourne and split the season series with Williams last year, 2-2.
Williams is on a quest to dethrone Azarenka, win her sixth Australian Open and jump-start a season that may see her become the first woman to win four Grand Slams in a season since 1988.
Can Anyone Stop Novak Djokovic?
Azarenka's counterpart in terms of dominance on the men's side is Novak Djokovic. He has won the last three contests in Melbourne and looks to become the first man to ever win four in a row.
He took care of business on Day 5 against Uzbekistan's Denis Istomin, extending his jaw-dropping win streak at the tournament to 24:
The bracket is more than kind to him at this point. With Rafael Nadal and Andy Murray on the opposite side, it will come down to underdogs such as Tomas Berdych and David Ferrer to pull off a stunning upset.
In a tournament that has been wild so far, anything is possible.
Will Wild Weather Continue?
Sweltering temperatures have put a hindrance on the Australian Open to this point. At numerous junctures in the tournament, play has been suspended, or players have simply dropped out:
Play currently being suspended due to current weather conditions. Hisense Arena roof is closing for the night. #ausopen— Australian Open (@AustralianOpen) January 16, 2014
The Australian Open had to introduce an "extreme heat policy" in response to the rising temperatures, although a quote from tournament doctor Tim Wood earlier in the week made this seem like an unnecessary stipulation, via Sports Illustrated's Jon Wertheim:
As you can appreciate, the players, the time the ball is in play, in total time for the match is relatively small. The amount of heat they produce from muscles exercising is relatively small in terms of what someone continuously exercising will do. They sit down every five to ten minutes for every 90 seconds at change of ends, so there is chance to lose some heat at that time. Tennis by and large is a low risk sport, and that's why by and large, like cricket, we can play in these conditions and not be too concerned.
Wertheim goes on to explain that the heat wave is expected to die down over the weekend, which viewers and players saw a bit of near the tail end of Day 5:
While you were sleeping the temps at #ausopen went from a scorching 108.5 degrees to a brisk 74. You read that right, over a 30 degree drop.— ESPNTennis (@ESPNTennis) January 17, 2014
But one has to wonder if the players are out of the woods just yet. The weather storyline has dominated the show thus far, despite outstanding action from the world's best players. If the heat continues to influence proceedings, it will take away from what has the makings of an amazing spectacle.