The top seeds in both the men’s and women’s competitions booked their places in Round 3 on Thursday, as Novak Djokovic and Serena Williams advanced with straight-sets victories in their respective matches at the Australian Open.
Novak Djokovic moved into the third round at the Australian Open for the ninth consecutive year with a 6-0, 6-1, 6-4 win Thursday over Russian Andrey Kuznetsov. Djokovic won the first set in 21 minutes and was rarely troubled against the 2009 junior Wimbledon champion. Kuznetsov broke the Serbian’s serve to take a 2-0 lead in the third set, but Djokovic broke straight back and won six of the next eight games to clinch the match. Djokovic has four Australian Open titles — his first Grand Slam title in 2008 and three in a row in 2011, 2012 and 2013. He was beaten in the quarterfinals here last year — 9-7 in the fifth set — by eventual champion Stan Wawrinka. The pair could meet in the semifinals this year.
Defending champion Stan Wawrinka, who ended four-time champion Djokovic’s 25-match winning streak at Melbourne Park in the quarterfinals last year, advanced to the third round for the seventh consecutive year with a 7-6 (4), 7-6 (4), 6-3 win over No. 194-ranked qualifier Marius Copil.
Aussie champ, LLey was absolutely cruising after two sets against Benjamin Becker, leading 6-2 6-1 and on track for an early night. But the game turned drastically from that point as Becker limited his errors to post a 2-6 1-6 6-3 6-4 6-2 victory. Lleyton Hewitt’s defeat against Benjamin Becker leaves Australia with three players left in the singles — Nick Kyrgios, Bernard Tomic and Sam Groth.
US Open finalist Kei Nishikori stayed on track for another strong Grand Slam performance when he beat Ivan Dodig 4-6, 7-5, 6-2, 7-6 (0) on Thursday in the second round of the Australian Open.
Reigning Australian Open champ Stan Wawrinka had little trouble in dismantling Romanian world No. 194 Marius Copil in straight sets. The Swiss progressed to the third round with a 7-6 (7-4) 7-6 (7-4) 6-3 victory. He will next meet Finnish veteran Jarkko Nieminen.
Venus and Serena Williams were both in action, the sisters enjoying straight-set victories to move a step closer to a potential semifinal meeting. It was world No. 1 and five-time Australian Open winner Serena who had to dig deep, saving two sets points at 3-5 down against former world No. 2 Vera Zvonareva before reeling off the final 10 games of the match to win 7-5, 6-0. Venus outdid American youngster Lauren Davis, giving up only five games as well, a 6-2, 6-3 victory.
Azarenka emerged victorious against Wozniacki as the Belarusian, out for much of 2014 due to injury, rose to the occasion with a 6-4, 6-2 win. Azarenka has fallen to No. 44 in the world due to her inactivity, but the win puts her just two rounds away from a quarterfinal showdown with Serena Williams.
Under the radar Czech fourth seed Petra Kvitova cruised into the Australian Open third round on Thursday with a straight sets win over Germany’s Mona Barthel. Kvitova, the reigning Wimbledon champion, downed world number 43 Barthel 6-2, 6-4 to reach the third round for the first time since 2012, when she advanced to the semi-finals.
There are no local women left at the Australian Open after Sam Stosur’s 6-4 6-4 defeat against Coco Vandeweghe.
6-0 6-1 6-4
Stanislas Wawrinka (SUI) beat Marius Copil (ROU)
7-6(4) 7-6(4) 6-3
Kei Nishikori (JPN) beat Ivan Dodig (CRO)
4-6 7-5 6-2 7-6(0)
Milos Raonic (CAN) beat Donald Young (USA)
6-4 7-6(3) 6-3
Women’s Singles – Round 2
Serena Williams (USA) beat Vera Zvonareva (RUS)
Petra Kvitova (CZE) beat Mona Barthel (GER)
Agnieszka Radwanska (POL) beat Johanna Larsson (SWE)
Victoria Azarenka (BLR) beat Caroline Wozniacki (DEN)