MELBOURNE (Reuters) – Defending champion Novak Djokovic had his hands full against American Frances Tiafoe but the Serbian rose to the occasion to claim a 6-3 6-7(3) 7-6(2) 6-3 win and reach the third round of the Australian Open on Wednesday.
Tiafoe’s sparkling tennis revived memories of his run to the 2019 quarter-finals but Djokovic dug deep to keep his quest for a record-extending ninth title at Melbourne Park alive.
Serena Williams continued her march towards a record-equalling 24th Grand Slam singles crown with a 6-3 6-0 victory over Nina Stojanovic. However, sister Venus, hampered by knee and ankle injuries, crashed out after a 6-1 6-0 defeat by Sara Errani.
Nick Kyrgios raised the roof at the John Cain Arena with a stunning 5-7 6-4 3-6 7-6(2) 6-4 comeback victory over Frenchman Ugo Humbert to book a showdown with U.S. Open champion Dominic Thiem, who beat Dominik Koepfer 6-4 6-0 6-2.
A nervous Naomi Osaka dreamt of defeat ahead of her clash with Frenchwoman Caroline Garcia but the reality was a comfortable 6-2 6-3 victory.
Romanian second seed Simona Halep survived a massive scare to defeat local hope Ajla Tomljanovic 4-6 6-4 7-5. Halep trailed 5-2 in the decider but won five consecutive games to book a date with Russian 32nd seed Veronika Kudermetova.
Eighth seed Bianca Andreescu’s comeback after a 15-month absence from tennis was halted with a 6-3 6-2 loss to Taiwanese veteran Hsieh Su-wei.
Following her out the exit door was two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova, who was sent packing 6-4 1-6 6-1 by Romanian Sorana Cirstea.
Former champion Stan Wawrinka was dumped out by Hungarian Marton Fucsovics, who saved three match points en route to a 7-5 6-1 4-6 2-6 7-6(9) win.
Highlights of day three of the Australian Open tennis championships at Melbourne Park on Wednesday. All matches are second round. Times local (GMT +11):
THURSDAY, 0002 DIMITROV EASES PAST LOCAL WILD CARD BOLT
Bulgarian 18th seed Grigor Dimitrov sealed a 7-6(1) 6-1 6-2 win over Australian wild card Alex Bolt to reach the third round for the seventh time.
Dimitrov next faces Spaniard Pablo Carreno Busta, who beat Czech Jiri Vesely earlier.
2311 KYRGIOS BAGS COMEBACK VICTORY IN FIVE-SET THRILLER
Australian Nick Kyrgios saved two match points to knock out French 29th seed Ugo Humbert 5-7 6-4 3-6 7-6(2) 6-4 in a thriller lasting three hours and 25 minutes. He next faces Austrian third seed Dominic Thiem in the third round.
2252 ZVEREV SETS UP MANNARINO CLASH
German sixth seed Alexander Zverev thumped American qualifier Maxime Cressy 7-5 6-4 6-3 to set up a third-round meeting with France’s Adrian Mannarino.
2151 HALEP BATTLES BACK TO BEAT TOMLJANOVIC
World number two and 2018 finalist Simona Halep recovered from a shaky start to beat Australia’s Ajla Tomljanovic 4-6 6-4 7-5.
The Romanian second seed rallied back from 5-2 down in the third set to fend off the world number 72.
2024 OSAKA DOWNS GARCIA
World number three Naomi Osaka defeated France’s Caroline Garcia 6-2 6-3 to set up a third-round meeting with Tunisian Ons Jabeur.
1926 SWIATEK WINS IN STRAIGHT SETS
French Open champion and 15th seed Iga Swiatek defeated Italian Camila Giorgi 6-2 6-4.
1822 DJOKOVIC WOBBLES BUT FIGHTS BACK
World number one and 17-times Grand Slam champion Novak Djokovic beat American Frances Tiafoe 6-3 6-7(3) 7-6(2) 6-3 to reach the third round for the 14th time.
1806 SHAPOVALOV BEATS QUALIFIER TOMIC
Canadian 11th seed Denis Shapovalov sent down 16 aces and hit 37 winners for a 6-1 6-3 6-2 win over Australian qualifier Bernard Tomic.
Shapovalov will face compatriot Felix Auger-Aliassime in the third round.
1755 VENUS KNOCKED OUT BY ITALIAN QUALIFIER
Seven-times Grand Slam champion Venus Williams crashed out following a 6-1 6-0 defeat to Italian qualifier Sara Errani, who is ranked 134.
1720 THIEM STORMS INTO ROUND THREE
Austrian third seed Dominic Thiem eased past Germany’s Dominik Koepfer 6-4 6-0 6-2 to reach the third round for the fifth time.
1630 FUCSOVICS KNOCKS OUT WAWRINKA IN FIVE SETS
Hungarian Marton Fucsovics got the better of three-time Grand Slam champion and 17th seed Stan Wawrinka 7-5 6-1 4-6 2-6 7-6(9) in a thriller lasting almost four hours.
1610 MUGURUZA EASES PAST SAMSONOVA
Spanish 14th seed Garbine Muguruza sealed a 6-3 6-1 win over Russian qualifier Liudmila Samsonova in just over an hour.
1430 SERENA STROLLS INTO ROUND THREE
Serena Williams, chasing a record-equalling 24th Grand Slam title, raced past Serbia’s Nina Stojanovic 6-3 6-0 in just 69 minutes to reach the third round for the 19th time.
1420 SCHWARTZMAN BREEZES PAST MULLER
Argentine eighth seed Diego Schwartzman converted nine break points in a dominant 6-2 6-0 6-3 win over France’s lucky loser Alexandre Muller.
1420 AUGER-ALIASSIME KNOCKS OUT HOME HOPE DUCKWORTH
Canadian youngster Felix Auger-Aliassime progressed to the third round for the first time with a 6-4 6-1 6-2 win over local favourite James Duckworth.
1240 SABALENKA ADVANCES WITH WIN OVER KASATKINA
Seventh seed Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus ground down classy Russian Daria Kasatkina 7-6(5) 6-3 in the early match at Margaret Court Arena.
1240 ANDREESCU’S COMEBACK CUT SHORT BY HSIEH
Bianca Andreescu’s comeback after a 15-month absence from tennis ended abruptly with the Canadian eighth seed crumbling to a 6-3 6-2 defeat to Taiwan’s Hsieh Su-wei in the opening match at Rod Laver Arena.
1108 PLAY GETS UNDERWAY
Play began on a warm, sunny morning at Melbourne Park with the temperature hovering around 24 degrees Celsius.
Authorities reported two new locally acquired cases of COVID-19 in the state of Victoria late on Tuesday.
(Reporting by Ian Ransom, Hardik Vyas, Manasi Pathak and Arvind Sriram; Editing by Peter Rutherford & Shri Navaratnam and Christian Radnedge)