The defending champion at the Australian Open, the Serbian Novak Djokovic, walked in the third round, while the Swiss Roger Federer suffered to go to the second round, on a day with important eliminations in the women’s team, such as those of Serena Williams and Naomi Osaka.
Djokovic, winner of 16 Grand Slam titles, seven of them in Australia, easily eliminated the Japanese Yoshihito Nishioka (71st), whom he won 6-3, 6-2, 6-2.
Djokovic didn’t lose any points in the games with his serve in the first two sets.
“It was one of my best games with the serve,” he acknowledged. “All thanks to Goran (Ivanisevic, whom he recently added to his team). I have thought about him during the game, “he added.
Djokovic will face Argentine Diego Schwartzman (14th) in the quarterfinals, who beat Serbian Dusan Lajovic (27th), 6-2, 6-3, 7-6 (9/7).
For his part, Roger Federer, a six-time winner in Australia, survived an epic five-set match to qualify for the last 16, achieving his hundredth victory in the tournament.
Federer won in a tough super tie-break in the fifth and final set against Australian John Millman, whom he defeated 4-6, 7-6 (7/2), 6-4, 4-6 and 7-6 (10 / 8), and is on his way to a hypothetical 21st career Grand Slam title.
The 38-year-old Swiss was losing in the super tie-break until 4-8, but within two points of the defeat he chained six to win the match.
– Federer centennial –
The world number three, who had lost to Millman in the only match played between the two previously in a Grand Slam, in the round of 16 at the US Open 2018, committed a large number of unforced errors: 82.
Federer will face Hungarian Marton Fucsovics (67th) in the round of 16.
“It was hard. Thank God there was a super tie-break. If not, I would have lost. I had a hard time creating problems for him in his service as he was doing a good job without making mistakes. I was never comfortable, “Federer recounted.
The victory not only gave him his hundredth triumph in Melbourne, but also the distinction of being the only player, male or female, to be a centenarian in that regard in two Grand Slam tournaments.
The Swiss also achieved that record at Wimbledon last year, joining a circle of four tennis players who have achieved it, alongside Americans Martina Navratilova at Wimbledon, and Chris Evert and Serena Williams at the US Open.
In the women’s draw, the curtain closed on Serena Williams, Naomi Osaka and Caroline Wozniacki, eliminated in the third round.
At 38 years old, Serena Williams (9th world player) believes she has committed a professional foul when she lost to Chinese Qiang Wang (29th), who won 6-4, 6-7 (2/7), 7-5.
The American had swept the Chinese four months ago in 44 minutes, in the US Open quarterfinals.
«He has not played in the same way this time. He served well and I have not subtracted as I usually do. But honestly, not to lie, it’s my fault. I lost the game, “Williams lamented. The American made 56 unforced errors, compared to 20 by Wang.
– Serena without record –
Finally, after the four finals played since her last major title in 2017 in Melbourne, it will not be this time when she equals the record of 24 Grand Slam tournaments won, held by Australia’s Margaret Court.
For her part, the Danish Caroline Wozniacki (36th) lost to the Tunisian Ons Jabeur (78th), 7-5, 3-6, 7-5.
A page was closed for her after she announced on December 6 that this Australian tournament, in which she had won her only Grand Slam title in 2018, would be her last.
The day of surprises in the women’s team was confirmed with the fall of the last winner of the Australian Open, the Japanese Naomi Osaka, eliminated by the youngest player in the competition, the American Coco Gauff (67th in the ranking with 15 years), who won 6-3, 6-4. AFP