Australia’s Daria Gavrilova has been bundled out of the Australian Open by the 37th ranked Belgium’s Elise Mertens, the final score was 7-5, 6-3.
Before a ball was hit the match went down for having the latest start in Open history, the first serve being sent down at 11.59pm. This esclipsed the previous record by one minute.
The late start came after the day session ran into the night and was followed by Grigor Dimitrov’s thrilling five-set win over qualifier Mackenzie McDonald. Dimitrov knows what it is like to have such a late start as it was he who previously held the record with Richard Gasquet. Their match began at 11.58pm after having waited for a match involving Gavrilova at the 2017 Open.
Gavrilova looked on track to advance to the third round after getting two breaks in the first set and serving for the set at 5-0. Gavrilova was not able to convert on four set points in that game, and then on four more set points. To Merten’s credit, she served big on the set points against her.
The main reason behind the loss was too many unforced errors by Gavrilova. The 23rd ranked Australian came up with 10 double faults and a total of 40 unforced errors.
In the second set at a crucial time there was controversy over a line call challenge. The umpire Aurelie Tourte deeming that the challenge came too late. “I raised my hand straight away,” Gavrilova said, with Toute replying: “No, you were waiting”. Commentators described it as a “horrendous call”. To make matters worse, the ball having been called out was actually in.
Mertens will meet Alize Cornet in the third round.