Melbourne, Australia (SportsNetwork.com) – World No. 1 Novak Djokovic and
defending champion Stan Wawrinka both breezed into the third round at the
Australian Open on Thursday.
The four-time Aussie titlist Djokovic won the first nine games and needed just
84 minutes to dispose of Russian Andrey Kuznetsov 6-0, 6-1, 6-4 at Rod Laver
“Overall I executed the game plan,” said Djokovic. “Everything I intended to
do, almost 100 percent, from every second in my game, serve, baseline play,
aggressive shots and aggressive returns.”
“He [Kuznetsov] dropped his first-serve percentage a lot in the second set and
obviously allowed me to have a lot of looks at the second serves. That, as
well, gave me an opportunity to step in and just swing through the ball.”
The reigning Wimbledon champion Djokovic captured three straight Aussie crowns
His next step toward becoming the second man to win five Aussie Open
titles will come Saturday against 31st-seeded Spaniard Fernando Verdasco, who
handled Japan’s Go Soeda 6-3, 6-2, 7-6 (7-3) at Melbourne Park.
The fourth-seeded Wawrinka extended his winning streak at this major to nine
with a 7-6 (7-4), 7-6 (7-4), 6-3 win over Romanian qualifier Marius Copil. The
tight affair saw the champ win just four more points than the game Copil,
playing in his first Grand Slam main draw.
“It was quite a tough match,” said Wawrinka. “Happy to get through, especially
in three sets. Condition wasn’t easy today. Quite hot, really fast on the
court, and he was playing great. He was serving big, putting lots of pressure.
Wasn’t playing my best tennis, but I’m happy the way I fight today.”
Wawrinka has reached the third round in Melbourne seven years running. His
next opponent will be Finnish left-hander Jarkko Nieminen.
Fifth-seeded Kei Nishikori fell behind early against Croat Ivan Dodig, but
wound up pulling out a 4-6, 7-5, 6-2, 7-6 (7-0) victory, while eighth-seeded
Canadian Milos Raonic topped American Donald Young 6-4, 7-6 (7-3), 6-3 and
ninth-seeded former French Open runner-up David Ferrer overcame Ukrainian
Sergiy Stakhovsky 5-7, 6-3, 6-4, 6-2.
Feliciano Lopez, seeded 12th, trailed by two sets to Frenchman Adrian
Mannarino, staved off a match point in the third and advanced when Mannarino
retired due to heat exhaustion in the fourth. Lopez was leading 4-0 in
the fourth prior to Mannarino calling it quits, as Lopez moved on in 4-6,
4-6, 7-6 (7-3), 4-0 fashion.
American John Isner reached the round of 32 with a 6-4, 7-6 (7-4), 4-6,
6-4 decision over Austrian Andreas Haider-Maurer. The 19th-seeded Isner
avoided a date with No. 13 Roberto Bautista Agut, who was ousted by
Luxembourg’s Gilles Muller 7-6 (7-5), 1-6, 7-5, 6-1 on Day 4.
In other second-round action involving seeds, 6-foot-8 Pole Jerzy Janowicz
upended No. 17 Frenchman Gael Monfils 6-4, 1-6, 6-7 (3-7), 6-3, 6-3,
No. 18 Frenchman Gilles Simon bested Spaniard Marcel Granollers 7-6 (7-5),
6-2, 6-4, and American Steve Johnson pulled off a mild upset with a 6-3, 6-4,
6-2 pasting of No. 30 Colombian Santiago Giraldo. Johnson will next square
off against Nishikori, last year’s U.S. Open runner-up.
Also on Thursday, Nieminen doused German Matthias Bachinger 7-6 (7-4), 7-5,
7-5; Canada’s Vasek Pospisil overcame Italian Paolo Lorenzi 6-7 (3-7), 7-6
(7-4), 6-3, 6-4; Spaniard Guillermo Garcia-Lopez bested Colombian Alejandro
Gonzalez 6-1, 6-3, 6-3; and German Benjamin Becker came all the way back to
dismiss long-time Aussie favorite Lleyton Hewitt 2-6, 1-6, 6-3, 6-4, 6-2. The
33-year-old former world No. 1 Hewitt is a two-time Grand Slam champion and
former Aussie Open runner-up. Becker should have his hands full with the big-
serving Raonic on Saturday.
The third round will get underway Friday, as second-seeded former world No. 1
Roger Federer will face Italian Andreas Seppi, third-seeded former top-ranked
star Rafael Nadal will battle Israeli Dudi Sela and sixth-seeded three-time
Aussie Open runner-up Andy Murray will tangle with Portuguese Joao Sousa.
Federer owns 17 a men’s-record major titles, including four at the Aussie
Open. The 14-time Grand Slam winner and reigning French Open king Nadal beat
Federer in the 2009 final and is a two-time runner-up here, including last
year when he was stunned by Wawrinka in the finale.
Also on Day 5, seventh-seeded former Wimbledon runner-up Tomas Berdych will
take on Serb Viktor Troicki and 10th-seeded Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov will be
opposed by former Melbourne runner-up Marcos Baghdatis.