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Roger Federer, Serena Williams reach Australian Open third round in straight sets in centre-court double header


January 22, 2020 22:40:23

Serena Williams and Roger Federer have flashed their 43 grand slam titles’ worth of experience on a blockbuster night of second-round Australian Open matches on Rod Laver Arena.

Key points:

  • Roger Federer will play Australian John Millman in the third round after winning through in straight sets
  • Serena Williams admitted she was frustrated during her second-round match against Tamara Zidansek
  • Williams powered through the first set against the world number 70 before facing a stiffer challenge in the second

Federer blew Filip Krajinovic off the court 6-1, 6-4, 6-1, while Williams had to dig deep to eke out a 6-2, 6-3 win over unheralded Slovenian Tamara Zidansek.

Day three results (women’s draw)

  • Ashleigh Barty (AUS, 1) def. Polona Hercog (SLO) 6-1, 6-4
  • Naomi Osaka (JPN, 3) def. Saisai Zheng (CHN) 6-2, 6-4
  • Petra Kvitova (CZE, 7) def. Paula Badosa (ESP) 7-5, 7-5
  • Serena Williams (USA, 8) def. Tamara Zidansek (SLO) 6-2, 6-3
  • Carla Suarez Navarro (ESP) def. Aryna Sabalenka (BLR, 11) 7-6 (8/6), 7-6 (8/6)
  • Julia Georges (GER) def. Petra Martic (CRO, 13) 6-4, 6-3, 7-5
  • Sofia Kenin (US, 14) def. Ann Li (US) 6-1, 6-3
  • Elise Mertens (BEL, 16) def. Danka Kovinic (MNE) 6-2, 6-0
  • Alison Riske (US, 18) def. Lin Zhu (CHN) 6-3, 6-1

Having spent less than an hour on court dispatching 18-year-old Russian Anastasia Potapova in the first round, a similar night looked on the cards for Williams early on Wednesday night as the first set blew by inside half an hour. But the 70th-ranked Zidansek would not go down easily.

With scores tied at 1-1 in the second set, Williams had four break points, but the 22-year-old underdog held her nerve and fought them all off to stay on serve.

Two games later, at 2-2, Williams had a look at 0-40 but again Zidansek fought back to make it 3-2 and leave Williams with an 0-7 record on second-set break points.

The American was visibly frustrated by her opponent’s refusal to be broken and in the next game, she started screaming at herself to try and pump herself up after winners.

But the unforced error count kept climbing as Zidansek consistently made Williams play an extra shot or two in most rallies.

The sixth game of the set proved pivotal, with Zidansek missing out on three break-point chances before just her fourth unforced error of the set gave Williams a game point that she finally converted, eliciting a shriek of “Come on!”.

The perpetual champion was suddenly back to her ruthless best in the next game, pouncing on the relatively gentle serves coming her way to power to 0-40, and this time she converted the break at her earliest convenience to reach 4-3.

The intensity of Williams’s groundstrokes grew, as did the volume of her grunts, as she applied the blowtorch to Zidansek and moved to 5-3.

She broke one more time to close at the match and progress as expected, while Zidansek left the court with her head held high.

Williams finished with more than twice as many unforced errors as Zidansek (28-13), but also a tick over double the winners (25-11).

“I was a little frustrated. I made so many errors in a row and I just had to battle through that, through my own internal problems,” the 23-time major winner said.

“I knew I had to play better. I couldn’t keep making unforced errors like that. I knew that I had to step up or it was going to be a really long evening for me.”

Federer looks every bit the master in demolition job

Federer was also clearly not keen on having a long evening, taking just 20 minutes to win the first set against an outclassed Krajinovic.

The Serb was not beating himself, making about 90 per cent of his first serves through the first two sets, only for Federer to send the returns back with unparalleled power and accuracy.

Day three results (men’s draw)

  • Novak Djokovic (SRB, 2) def. Tatsuma Ito (JAP) 6-1, 6-4, 6-2
  • Roger Federer (SUI, 3) def. Filip Krajinovic (SRB) 6-1, 6-4, 6-1
  • Stefanos Tsitsipas (GRE, 6) def. Philipp Kohlschreiber (GER) W/O
  • Tennys Sandgren (USA) def. Matteo Berrettini (ITA, 8) 7-6 (9/7), 6-4, 4-6, 2-6, 7-5
  • Roberto Bautista Agut (ESP, 9) def. Michael Mmoh 5-7, 6-2, 6-4, 6-1
  • Diego Schwartzman (ARG, 14) def. Alejandro Davidovich Fokina (ESP) 6-1, 6-4, 6-2
  • Tommy Paul (USA) def. Grigor Dimitrov (BUL, 18) 6-4, 7-6 (8/6), 3-6, 6-7 (3/7), 7-6 (10/3)
  • Marin Cilic (CRO) def. Benoit Paire (FRA, 21) 2-6, 7-6 (8/6), 6-3, 1-6, 7-6 (10/3)
  • Guido Pella (ARG, 22) def. Gregoire Barrere (FRA) 6-1, 6-4, 3-6, 6-3
  • Yoshihito Nishioka (JPN) def. Daniel Evans (GBR, 30) 6-4, 6-3, 6-4
  • Milos Raonic (CAN, 32) def. Cristian Garin (CHI) 6-3, 6-4, 6-2

Krajinovic was broken in the first game of the second set but fought his way back from 15-40 in the third to avoid going down a double break, and was rewarded for refusing to give in with a break point at 3-2, only for Federer to save it and maintain his advantage.

But Krajinovic eventually got the set back on serve with his first break at 4-4, but he could not consolidate, netting a routine backhand volley in the next game to give Federer the break back and a 5-4 lead.

Krajinovic had a fresh racket after smashing his first in frustration at wasting his chance, but the ball barely touched the new hardware as Federer served out the set.

After expending so much energy in his failed bid for the second set, Krajinovic appeared exhausted as Federer collected another break in the first game of the third set.

The world number 41, who also spent four hours on court in a delayed first-round match one day earlier, called for a medical timeout for treatment on his right arm while down a break and 2-1.

Federer lost just four points as he won the next four games to complete a comprehensive win in one hour and 33 minutes.

“At 0-40 and 5-1, it wasn’t 100 per cent fair that he played five sets yesterday and me zero,” Federer said after the match.

“The rain helped me, so you’ve got to take them when they fall that way. But, yeah, I do feel a little bit sorry, to be honest.”

Federer will play Australian John Millman in the third round, after accounting for 31st seed Hubert Hurkacz 6-4, 7-5, 6-3.

The last time they met in a major came in the 2018 US Open, when Millman stunned Federer in a 3-6, 7-5, 7-6 (9/7), 7-6 (7/3) victory.






First posted

January 22, 2020 20:57:56

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