Sears was said to be OK after needing medical aid while watching Ivanovic’s match with Murray unaware while playing on an adjacent court.
MELBOURNE, Australia — A medical emergency overshadowed matches on adjoining courts at the Australian Open when Nigel Sears, who is Ana Ivanovic’s coach and Andy Murray’s father-in-law, was rushed to a hospital while both of their third-round matches were in progress.
Four-time finalist Murray beat No. 32 Joao Sousa 6-2, 3-6, 6-2, 6-2 and signed some autographs but skipped the customary on-court interview before leaving Margaret Court Arena on Saturday night to check on the welfare of Sears, the father of his pregnant wife.
Ivanovic was leading Madison Keys 6-4, 1-0 when her match was stopped. She could be seen saying “That’s my coach,” before both players left the court. It was the second time in three days that Ivanovic’s progress was interrupted for a spectator needing medical aid — her second-round match was delayed for a half-hour when a woman fell on the stairs at Rod Laver Arena.
This time, the 2008 finalist didn’t come back to win. Despite having breaks in the second and third sets, Ivanovic lost six of the last seven games to lose 4-6, 6-4, 6-4 to No. 15-seeded Keys.
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Murray’s wife, Kim, is due to give birth to their first child next month.
Australian Open organizers didn’t provide any confirmation on Sears or his condition, although stadium announcer Craig Willis told the Rod Laver Arena crowd: “Nigel Sears had a turn, as we all saw. He’s in the hospital cracking terrible jokes he cracks all the time, and a TV was wheeled into his room so he could watch the match. He’s OK.”
Murray later answered one question about his match:
“I thought I struggled,” Murray said. “At the beginning I think he was extremely aggressive, very intense. It was tricky. I didn’t feel great. Though I returned well, I didn’t get to hit that many groundstrokes, didn’t feel I was in a great rhythm, wasn’t hitting the ball clean at the start.”
Kei Nishikori reached the quarterfinals, defeating Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 6-4, 6-2, 6-4 in front of a hugely partisan crowd filled with flag-waving Japanese fans.
In women’s matches, top-seeded Serena Williams defeated Russian Margarita Gasparyan, 6-2, 6-1.
Maria Sharapova advanced to the quarterfinals after a 7-5, 7-5 win over Belinda Bencic of Switzerland, and two-time champion Victoria Azarenka dropped her opening service game without winning a point, but recovered quickly to beat Japanese qualifier Naomi Osaka 6-1, 6-1.