Novak Djokovic made short work of his much-hyped 2008 Australian Open final rematch with Jo-Wilfred Tsonga, besting him in straight sets in the second round. Serena Williams also had it easy on the fourth day of the Slam, quashing Ukrainian teenager Dayana Yastremska’s challenge in 70 minutes.
Dominic Thiem’s frustrating match against Alexei Popyrin, which witnessed the former smashing his racquet, ended when he retired in the third set.
Switzerland’s Stan Wawrinka was another bigwig that exited the Slam. He fell to Canada’s Milos Raonic after four sets.
Top seed Simona Halep, meanwhile, survived a scare against USA’s Sofia Kenin.
The big news
Serena forges ahead
Serena Williams stormed past Canada’s Eugenie Bouchard and into the third round as her quest for a record-equalling 24th Grand Slam title gathered pace.
The American won 6-2, 6-2 in 70 minutes, setting up unseeded Ukrainian teenager Dayana Yastremska as the next hurdle in her bid for another major to equal the mark set by Australian great Margaret Court.
The 37-year-old won her 23rd major Down Under two years ago while two months pregnant and is the bookies’ favourite to claim an eighth Australian title, despite being seeded 16th.
Djokovic demolishes Tsonga
World number one Novak Djokovic blasted past Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 6-3, 7-5, 6-4 in a repeat of their 2008 Melbourne final, also won by the Serb.
The top seed vanquished his old French foe for the 17th time in 27 tour meetings stretching back 11 years and advances to face Canada’s 25th seed Denis Shapovalov in the third round.
Djokovic, 31, won the first of his 14 Grand Slams in that final against Tsonga over a decade ago and he said the memories came flooding back as the pair walked back out on Rod Laver Arena.
Wawrinka loses a four-set battle
Three-time Grand Slam champion Stan Wawrinka was ousted from the Australian Open in the tightest of second-round battles.
The 33-year-old Swiss, unseeded for the first time since his debut in 2006 after recovering from knee surgery, fell to Canada’s Milos Raonic after four sets decided on tiebreaks 6-7 (4/7), 7-6 (8/6), 7-6 (13/11), 7-6 (7/5).
Thiem limps out in second round
Seventh seed Dominic Thiem limped out of the Australian Open in the second round Thursday when he retired when 7-5, 6-4, 2-0 down to young wildcard Alexei Popyrin.
The Austrian got through a first round five-setter against Benoit Paire that finished in the early hours of Wednesday morning and he never looked 100 percent against the Australian.
Thiem smashed his racquet at one point and called for the trainer before retiring to hand Popyrin, 19, the biggest win of his fledgling career.
Shot of the day
From the sidelines
From coast to court
The “Serena-tard” may be making headlines at the Australian Open but defending champion Caroline Wozniacki is making waves with a dress made from recycled ocean waste. The Dane and other Adidas-sponsored players at the tournament are burnishing their green credentials by sporting clothing from the brand’s Parley collection. It’s the result of a joint venture with environmental group Parley for the Oceans in which plastic waste such as old water bottles are collected from the ocean, shredded then turned into fabric. Adidas is marketing the range with the taglines “from threat to thread” and “from the coast to the court”.
Early to bed
Maria Sharapova isn’t used to staying up late these days. But the Russian five-time Grand Slam champion was forced to do just that in her second-round match at the Australian Open which ended at half-past midnight early Thursday. The 31-year-old said afterwards she was an early to bed type of woman. “10:30, like in bed at 10, sleep by 10:30,” she said. “My boyfriend challenges it quite a lot, but 10:30 is my time.”
Svitolina’s surprised by the interest on her love life
Elina Svitolina revealed she is dating French star Gael Monfils after he was spotted in her player box at the Australian Open and expressed surprise after being questioned about it during an on-court interview.
The Ukrainian, seeded six, powered into round three with a 6-4, 6-1 thrashing of Viktoria Kuzmova, but fans on social media seemed more interested in her love life.
She was asked on court about Monfils and said he was “supporting me”, which sent Twitter into overdrive.
The 24-year-old later confirmed in a press conference that “we are dating” and said she was taken aback by the interest.
“No way! I feel old. Wow, that’s kind of crazy... It’s weird.”
- US Open champion, Naomi Osaka, feels sheepish when told that fellow 21-year-old Tamara Zidansek had felt intimidated before facing her.
“I think the threats that I have received for me and my family, that I’ve had for a year-and-a-half now, I don’t think anyone would reach out to a person that speaks like that.”
- Australia’s Davis Cup captain and former world No 1 Lleyton Hewitt on Bernard Tomic.
“I have no idea how I won this tonight, it’s so tough to explain what happened on court.”
- Top seed Simona Halep after a streaky 6-3, 6-7, 6-4 win over Sofia Kenin in second round.
“I don’t live and die by winning and losing any more.”
- Australian wildcard Alex Bolt, 26, who upset 29th seed Gilles Simon, isn’t obsessed about results.
“I’ll go get some breakfast now.”
- Spanish 18th seed Garbine Muguruza jokes after wrapping up a 3.15 am win over Johanna Konta of Great Britain.