Australian Open: Women’s semi-finals moved into a prime slot in Melbourne shake-up

The Australian Open will join the other majors in having both men’s semi-finals played on the same day from next year with the women’s last-four stage matches moving to an evening prime-time slot as part of fixture shake-up.

In recent years, the women’s semis have been held in the daytime on the second Thursday of the tournament, with the two men’s semis occupying the Thursday and Friday night sessions.

Three of the last four night sessions featured men’s singles matches – while giving one male finalist more time to prepare than the other.

Both men’s semi-finals will now be played on the second Friday in a move that brings the tournament in line with the other Grand Slams.

This year’s Australian Open, which begins on January 17, will celebrate 100 years since the women’s tournament was introduced.

Tournament director Craig Tiley said: “As we celebrate 100 years of women’s competition at what is now the Australian Open, I’m delighted to further showcase the women’s game by scheduling the semi-finals in the primetime TV spot of Thursday night.

“Tennis is one of the very few global sports in which women and men compete on the same stage, earn equal prize money and have equal exposure.

“Although this is a source of pride, we recognise we can always do more as we continue to strive for equality, inclusion and diversity throughout the sport, both on and off the court.”

The fixture change comes 12 years after the women’s final was moved to Saturday night in 2009.

Australia’s Ashleigh Barty is almost certain to be the top seed for the second year in a row.

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