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Australian Open | Djokovic puts it past Tiafoe, Osaka has it easy

40-year-old Venus Williams was the oldest woman in the draw.

40-year-old Venus Williams was the oldest woman in the draw.

Eight-time champion Novak Djokovic was made to sweat at the Australian Open on Wednesday as Serena Williams made serene progress in her bid for a record-equalling 24th Grand Slam title.

Women’s favourite Naomi Osaka also charged through but fellow Major winners Stan Wawrinka, Bianca Andreescu and Petra Kvitova were all second-round casualties.

Kyrgios wins a thriller

Among the late matches, Aussie crowd-pleaser Nick Kyrgios served underarm, smashed a racquet and rowed with the chair umpire before coming from behind to beat France’s Ugo Humbert in five gripping sets 5-7, 6-4, 3-6, 7-6 (2), 6-4.

Earlier, Djokovic was given astern examination by American Frances Tiafoe and dropped his first set of the tournament before recovering to win 6-3, 6-7(3), 7-6(2), 6-3.

The 2014 champion Wawrinka blew three match points in the fifth-set tiebreaker of his four-hour epic with Marton Fucsovics, who won 7-5, 6-1, 4-6, 2-6, 7-6(9).

Osaka, whosethree Grand Slam titles include the 2019 Australian crown, hadno such trouble in her match against France’s Caroline Garcia,winning by just dropping five games.

 

Second seed Simona Halep survived a scare when she reeled off five third-set games in a row to avoid defeat by Australia’s Ajla Tomljanovic.

Serena romped past 99th-ranked Serbian Nina Stojanovic 6-3, 6-0.

A socially distanced John Cain Arena was rocking for the Kyrgios match, where the unseeded home favourite denied Humbert what seemed like a certain win to set up a clash with US Open champion Dominic Thiem.

Injured Venus out

Serena’ elder sister Venus wasamong the casualties on day three when she painfully rolled her ankle in the first set against Sara Errani before hobbling through a 6-1, 6-0 defeat.

And Andreescu, the 2019 US Open champion who missed the entire 2020 season with a knee injury, saw her comeback come to an abrupt end 6-3, 6-2 against Taiwan’s Hsieh Su-wei.

Elsewhere Kvitova, the former Wimbledon champion and Melbourne runner-up in 2019, committed 44 unforced errors in her 6-4, 1-6, 6-1 defeat to Romania’s Sorana Cirstea.

However Thiem, runner-up to Djokovic last year, was all smiles as he beat Germany’s Dominik Koepfer 6-4, 6-0, 6-2.

Bopanna exits

Meanwhile in men’s doubles, Rohan Bopanna and Ben McLachlan bowedout in the opening round, losing 4-6, 6-7(0) to the Korean wild card pair of Ji Sung Nam and Min-Kyu.


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Printable version | May 27, 2022 12:11:09 am | https://www.thehindu.com/sport/australian-open-venus-williams-rolls-ankle-falls-to-errani/article33799871.ece