Garbine Muguruza finally won what is believed to be the latest-starting match in Australian Open history, edging Johanna Konta 6-4, 6-7 (3), 7-5 in an after-midnight marathon that began at 12:30 a.m. and concluded at 3:12 a.m. on Friday.
The start was delayed when the men's match between Alexander Zverev and Jeremy Chardy turned into three hour 46 minute epic, ending 7-6 (7/5), 6-4, 5-7, 6-7 (6/8), 6-1 for Germany's Zverev.
There were only a few hundred fans in the seats at Margaret Court Arena, which has a seating capacity of 7,500.
The previous record for the latest start was set a year ago when a second-round match between Daria Gavrilova and Elise Mertens began at 11:59 pm.
And while Konta has been a vocal opponent of those late matches this week, the organizers were backed by six-time Australian Open champion Federer, who said that playing late into the night was a regular part of life in Grand Slam tournaments.
"Garbine and I were in the same Situation", she told the BBC: "in these circumstances, we both have shown a great Match".
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"It's not ideal for anyone to do any physical activity when it's bedtime, but it is what it is and both of us were in the same boat", Konta said. We don't know if we play at 11:00 or 1:00 or super late. "Like who cares?", Muguruza said on court'.
"I think obviously the reason why they (did that). because of the ticket sales", five-times Grand Slam champion Sharapova told reporters after reaching the fourth round on Friday.
According to an Australian Open spokeswoman, Muruguzu and Konta were given the option of having Court 3 cleaned; it should have taken 15 minutes.
The Start of the meeting had been delayed because of the Alexander Zverev (Hamburg, Germany) and Frenchman Jeremy had occupied the Margaret Court Arena for nearly four hours, Zverev won in five sets. "It was unfortunate that more people couldn't enjoy it during the day".
The British player made a poor start by dropping serve in the opening game but grew into the match thereafter and the pair were soon trading mighty groundstrokes.
"So I think it is what it is. I want to be able to take that time and say I was able to spend it with her".