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Tuesday November 19th, 2019 9:41PM

The Latest: Greek stars in early action at Australian Open

By The Associated Press
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MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — The Latest on Friday at the Australian Open (all times local):

12:20 p.m.

Greek stars Stefanos Tsitsipas and Maria Sakkari featured on two of the three main show courts at Melbourne Park as rain delayed the start of play on outside courts.

It's the first time a Greek man and woman have advanced to the third round at the same Grand Slam tournament since 1936.

At Rod Laver Arena, Sakkari lost the first set to Ashleigh Barty 7-5 and the Australian received treatment for an apparent stomach muscle issue at the end of the first set. A group of young men in blue t-shirts were vocal supporters of Sakkari, chanting Greek songs that echoed around the closed-roof arena.

Over at adjoining Margaret Court Arena, Tsitsipas took the opening set 6-3 against Nikoloz Basilashvili but the Georgian player won the second by the same score.

Tsitsipas was having to deal with an inconsistent ball toss, a bird trapped inside the arena that frequently swooped low over the court and a chair umpire that mispronounced his name.

One Greek fan frequently began a slow clap just before Tsitsipas' serves and yelled "go go go." With the Greek player trailing 3-0 in the second set, moral support appeared to be on the way: Patrick Mouratoglou, Serena Williams' coach, came down the stairs and headed to his player's box. Tsitsipas trains at the Mouratoglou Academy in France.

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10:45 a.m.

Caroline Wozniacki will have her most daunting challenge in defense of her Australian Open women's singles title when she takes on five-time Grand Slam champion Maria Sharapova in the third round at Melbourne Park on Friday.

The two haven't played since 2015 when Sharapova finished the year ranked fourth and Wozniacki was 17th. Now Wozniacki is seeded third here and Sharapova is 30th.

The match preceding that one on Rod Laver Arena will see defending men's singles champion Roger Federer take on American Fritz Taylor. Rafael Nadal opens night play on the same court against Australian Alex de Minaur, followed by 2016 champion Angelique Kerber's match against Australian wild-card entry Kimberly Birrell.

Morning rain showers meant the roofs at all three main show courts were closed and the start of play was delayed on outside courts.

____

More AP Tennis: https://www.apnews.com/apf-Tennis and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

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