A day at the Australian Open

It’s late now. B bought tickets to the afternoon session of the Australian Open tennis at Margaret Court (terrible person) Arena. But it was past Melbourne’s late summer sunset by the time we emerged.

We begin the day by sleeping in. That is very nice. Then we walk across the river to Rice at Collins, a small restaurant at the base of an office building run by a couple of old ladies from Hong Kong

.We are here for “the best Hainanese chicken rice in Melbourne.”

Well, that’s disappointing, Melbourne. The chicken is nice enough, but the rice is dry and lacking flavour. The laksa is too sweet.

After buying food supplies at Woolies in Southern Cross Station, we catch the 70a tram to the tennis. It is absolutely choclers by the time it reaches the destination.

We wander around the grounds of Melbourne Park for a little, then enter MCA to discover an exhibition match between former greats Thomas Johansson and Li Na on one side and Daniella Hantuchova and Tommy Haas on the other.

It is highly entertaining with the participants just having fun, sometimes playing two balls at once and inviting a ball boy to have a hit.

A big match between number 1 killer Linda Noskova and 19th seed Elina Svitolina follows, but ends three games later with Svitolina retiring hurt.

A women’s doubles between Krejcikova and Siegemund on one side and Navarro and Shnaider on the other. But B wants to do more AO merchandise shopping and peek into a boring men’s double in Kia Arena, so we only catch the second set. A bogan ahead of us keeps shouting in support of Krejcikova.

Next up is the big one, 6th seed Alexander Zverev versus 19th seed Cameron Norrie.

What a match! It lasts over four hours and five sets, ending in a tiebreak victory for Zverev. This was the match of the day and makes the whole experience worthwhile.

It is quite chilly by the time we emerge, but the nice jumpers are all sold out. We catch the tram back to the city before the crowd from the recently finished Alcaraz match on Rod Laver Arena arrive.

Dinner is a very nice ramen from 24 hour Shujinko on Flinders Street, the broth hitting the spot. Then back to the hotel with the city shutting down on a Monday night.

As are we.

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