Australian Open 2019, Djokovic, Zverev, Raonic, Through To Third Round

World number one Novak Djokovic reached the Australian Open third round with a straight-set win over Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.

The six-time champion in Melbourne beat the 33-year-old Frenchman 6-3 7-5 6-4.

Tsonga, whose ranking has fallen to 177 after a knee injury restricted him to 12 matches in 2018, showed flashes of his ability but the Serb, 31, was always in control.

Novac Djokovic faces 19-year-old Canadian Denis Shapovalov, the 25th seed, next.

The match against Tsonga was a repeat of the 2008 final in Melbourne, which the Serb won in four sets to secure his first Grand Slam title.

“You could feel the tension on court at the beginning. We felt a lot of emotion and tried to play a great game,” said Novac Djokovic.

“It’s always tough to play Jo. He has struggled with injury and his ranking doesn’t do him justice in my eyes.”

Serena Williams swatted aside Canada’s Eugenie Bouchard in straight sets to continue her quest for a record-equalling 24th Grand Slam title at the Australian Open.

The American 16th seed made a rapid start on her way to a 6-2 6-2 victory over the 2014 Wimbledon finalist.

Not everything went the 37-year-old’s way, but she demonstrated why she is considered the tournament favourite.

Alexander Zverev survived a major scare as he held off a Jeremy Chardy fightback to win in five sets and reach the Australian Open third round.

The German fourth seed, 21, won 7-6 (7-5) 6-4 5-7 6-7 (6-8) 6-1 and will next play Australian wildcard Alex Bolt, who beat Gilles Simon in a four-hour match.

Eighth seed Kei Nishikori also held off a fightback, beating Ivo Karlovic in a final-set tie-break in Melbourne.

Karlovic served 59 aces as he came from two sets down on Margaret Court Arena.

However, Japanese player Nishikori held his nerve to edge out the Croat 6-3 7-6 (8-6) 5-7 5-7 7-6 (10-7) in three hours and 48 minutes.

Bolt, ranked 159 in the world, battled hard to take out the 29th seed Simon 2-6 6-4 4-6 7-6 (10-8) 6-4.

Meanwhile, Milos Raonicbeat 2014 champion Stan Wawrinka in four sets, which all went to tie-breaks.

Raonic will face Pierre-Hugues Herbert in round three after the Frenchman beat 24th seed Chung Hyeon 6-2 1-6 6-2 6-4.

The South Korean, who reached the semi-finals at Melbourne Park last year, is likely to drop out of the world’s top 50 after the tournament.

Seventh seed Dominic Thiem retired injured from his match against wildcard Alexei Popyrin when trailing 7-5 6-4 2-0.

The Austrian, who had shown signs of frustration that boiled over into smashing his racquet, had come through a draining five-setter in his opening match against Benoit Paire and never looked comfortable against 19-year-old Australian Popyrin.

“I felt very bad during the game, obviously,” Thiem said.

“I started to feel like my whole body hurt, generally not feeling well at all, and in the match it got worse. My whole body was hurting, I was feeling weak, and there was no sense to continue.”

Nishikori saved three break points at 4-4 in the final set and was then 6-7 down in the decisive tie-break, as Karlovic stood on the brink of becoming the oldest man to reach the third round since 44-year-old Australian Ken Rosewall in 1978.a

“It was a tough match which could have gone both ways. He almost had it for sure,” said Nishikori, a three-time quarter-finalist at Melbourne Park,

“I focused well on the last points, I’m very happy to win. We both played great tennis – of course he served really well.”

He faces Joao Sousaafter the Portuguese beat Philipp Kohlschreiber 7-5 4-6 7-6 (7-4) 5-7 6-4.

Canada’s Raonic was forced to come from a set down to see off Swiss three-time Grand Slam champion Wawrinka, who was unseeded for the first time since his debut in 2006 after injuries saw him drop to 59th in the world.

Raonic, the 16th seed, won 6-7 (4-7) 7-6 (8-6) 7-6 (13-11) 7-6 (7-5) in four hours one minute.


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