Federer is due to take on one of his “bunnies” on the tour – he has beaten Richard Gasquet 16 out of 18 times and has never lost on the hard court to the Frenchman. Hungary’s Marton Fucsovics awaits the winner in the fourth round.
But they will have to wait for their moment on Rod Laver Arena, with the organisers scheduling a mouth-watering women’s match first with Angelique Kerber and Maria Sharapova running into each other.
Sharapova is a “dangerous floater” in the draw thanks to her lowly ranking after a 15-month doping ban for a negative test here in Melbourne two years ago. The Russian leads her head-to-head with the former world No 1 4-3 but has not beaten her since 2013.
And Djokovic, also under-represented by his No 14 seed, will likely be given his toughest test since elbow surgery by Albert Ramos-Vinolas in their third-round clash.
- Halep wins marathon match 15-13 in the third
- Zverev dumped out by Chung
- Sharapova loses first set to brilliant Kerber
- Djokovic takes first set against Ramos-Vinolas
- Federer vs Gasquet (expected 10.30am)
Australian Open 2018 LIVE
9.10am: A third break and the first set to Kerber. Sensational stuff! 6-1 she takes it.
8.55am: First blood for Djokovic over on Margaret Court. The Serb has looked pretty flawless since his return – but Ramos is going to push him. Djokovic saved break points in his second and third service games but then broke to lead 4-2, converting his seventh opportunity of the set.
And the former world No 1 has broken again to seal the first 6-2.
Sharapova meanwhile is deep trouble. She’s trying to bring the power to counter Kerber, but the German is firing everything back with interest! She now has a double break and leads 4-1 in the first serve.
8.45am: Worst possible start for Maria Sharapova. The Russian is broken in the first game of the match and Kerber consolidates with confidence. After the miserable year she had in 2017, it’s quite nice to see the former world No 1 playing with some swagger again. She is playing off her lowest seeding in six years but looks a far better player than world No 16 right now. Leads 2-0.
8.30am: Over on Hisense (Melbourne Park’s third court), it’s a bad start for Juan Martin del Potro. He’s lost the first set 6-3 and has been broken in the very first game of the second.
Then again, when does Delpo ever do it the easy way?
Djokovic and Ramos are still on serve, three games in.
8am: Right. I think we’re all caught up on Zverev now. That was a spectacular captiulation from the 20-year-old. Not good.
Let’s catch up on overnight. Simona Halep proved why she is world No 1, overcoming Lauren Davis in nearly FOUR HOURS. It took the Romanian, carrying an ankle injury, 227 minutes to beat her American opponent 15-13 in the third.
And Australia lost their last representative in the women’s singles, Ashleigh Barty beaten in straight sets by Naomi Osaka of Japan.
Meanwhile, in the men’s draw, Dominic Thiem conserved plenty of energy, beating Adrian Mannarino in three, while Fabio Fognini went the distance to win against Julian Benneteau.
Finally, Marton Fucsovics could Roger Federer in his first ever Grand Slam fourth round – the Hungarian beat Nicolas Kicker in three sets.
7.45am: There it is. After a couple of tantrums, Zverev has been beaten in five sets and walks off Rod Laver with a few boos ringing around. He completely went to pieces in that final set. That’s the end of the day session.
We’ve got Sharapova and Djokovic both due on at 8am – or just after. More drama to come, no doubt.
7.40am: Morning! I’ll give you a little round-up of the night’s action in a moment but first there is a big story developing: world No 4 Alexander Zverev is about to crash out to 21-year-old Hyeon Chung, who is serving for the fifth set at 5-0.
More as it happens…