American billionaire Bill Gates has been picked out of the crowd at the Australian Open on Thursday night.
The business magnate was courtside for Victoria Azarenka’s semi-final clash with Elena Rybakina at Rod Laver Arena.
WATCH THE VIDEO ABOVE: Novak Djokovic’s father poses with pro-Russian supporters.
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“Bill Gates in the house tonight,” Nine commentator Sam Smith said during the coverage.
“A happy spectator courtside to see the opening semi-final.”
Azarenka was on the hunt for her third Australian Open final, while 23-year-old Wimbledon champion Rybakina was looking to qualify for her first.
On the men’s side of the draw, Karen Khachanov feels the experience of contesting a semi-final at last year’s US Open will hold him in good stead for his Australian Open last-four battle with Stefanos Tsitsipas.
The Russian made it to the final four at Flushing Meadows last September after taking care of Australian dynamo Nick Kyrgios in an epic quarter-final contest.
But Khachanov admits the toll of that five-set match affected him when facing Casper Ruud in the semi-finals.
He enters Friday’s clash with Tsitsipas after dropping just two sets during his five matches at Melbourne Park this year.
The 18th seed’s best result at a major before last year’s US Open was reaching the quarter-finals twice.
“Quarter-finals with Nick (at the US Open) killed me because we finished around 1.30 am,” the Russian said.
“That day I remember I went to sleep at 5am after all my treatments and everything.
“You try to recover, but I think once you miss the full night of sleep it’s crucial for the energy.
“So this time is different … I think coming in I will be in a physically better shape.”
Tsitsipas has been equally as dominant during the Australian Open, crushing four of his opponents in straight sets, but was pushed the distance by Italian Jannik Sinner in the fourth round.
The third seed appears set for a meeting with nine-time champion Novak Djokovic in the final, which would be Tsitsipas’ second grand slam decider.
The Greek star famously lost the 2021 French Open final to Djokovic after winning the first two sets.
The 24-year-old has taken a positive approach to this year’s Melbourne Park campaign, with Aussie great Mark Philippoussis sitting in his box.
“There is this one sort of way of looking at tennis that you’re really exhausted after every match,” Tsitsipas said.
“Every single thing you try to do on the court takes a lot of effort.
“There’s this other version of tennis where you’re doing your job, but you’re enjoying it so much you don’t care if it’s exhausting or not.
“I think I’m heading towards more of that lately than the other thing. I’m very happy to be out on the court.
“It’s just this whole dynamic that has made me very hungry and has created a lot of desire for me to be playing tennis, wanting to achieve new things.”
– With AAP