The morning/afternoon session at Day 3 of the 2016 Australian Open featured a trio of matches in Rod Laver Arena. The results saw a trio of former tournament champions book their places in the respective third rounds of the men’s and women’s draws. Maria Sharapova, Serena Williams, and Roger Federer all had very comfortable wins.
Sharapova opened the court for the day against Aliaksandra Sasnovich, a player who made her Australian Open debut at this year’s tournament. In a match that took just 71 minutes, Sharapova advanced comfortably 6-2, 6-1. The Russian’s serve was strong on Day 3 as she won 79% of the points played on her first serve. That kind of high level of play will make her a difficult player to knock out in the upcoming rounds. Next up for Sharapova is American Lauren Davis, a player who has yet to win a third round match at any major.
Following Sharapova, Serena Williams took to Melbourne Park’s main show court against unheralded Su-Wei Hsieh. The line score ended 6-1, 6-2 in 60 minutes as the World No. 1 and defending champion was not made to work too hard for her points. Williams will face an eighteen-year-old in the next round as Daria Kasatkina of Russia also advanced. Kasatkina appears to be a future star on the WTA Tour. However, it would be a shocking upset if she kept Williams out of the fourth round.
On the men’s side, Roger Federer faced Alexandr Dolgopolov. While the Ukrainian is a player that is capable of competing with anyone it has been a while since he has made a major headline in tennis. Unfortunately for Dolgo, Federer’s service game was absolutely sizzling in their second round match.
The Swiss Maestro, in a three-set match, fired an amazing 25 aces against just two double faults. That didn’t leave Dolgopolov any room for error, and he did need at least some as he was broken five times en route to losing 6-3, 7-5, 6-1. Next up for Federer is Grigor Dimitrov in a match that could be a test. Earlier this month, the Bulgarian was able to take a set off of Fed in the Brisbane draw.
“It’s a tough draw,” the Swiss said. “He’s got the game to be really dangerous.”
Other players that advanced in early matches on Day 3 included Kei Nishikori, David Goffin, Dominic Thiem, and Tomas Berdych. Belinda Bencic and Roberta Vinci both advanced on the women’s side while the biggest upset of the day was at the expense of Svetlana Kuznetsova. The two-time Grand Slam champion fell to Kateryna Bondarenko of the Ukraine.
Giant-killing Daria Gavrilova, the world number 39, said she was “just really happy” after her win over Kvitova.
“It was unreal. I was so nervous in the end, you probably could tell,” said the Russian-born Australian, who only switched nationality in December.
She now plays France’s Kristina Mladenovic on Friday for a place in the fourth round.
Kvitova made 35 unforced errors and was broken five times in the 89-minute contest on Margaret Court Arena.
The Czech joined second seed Simona Halep and eighth seed Venus Williams in suffering a shock early exit.
Agnieszka Radwanska said her confidence was soaring after she overcame Canada’s Eugenie Bouchard 6-4 6-2 to reach the third round.
Bouchard, rebuilding her career after a head injury at last year’s US Open, showed glimpses of her old form but could not match the Pole’s consistency.
Radwanska, who will play Monica Puig of Puerto Rico in the third round, said: “I’m very happy with my game today because getting Genie in the second round was not an easy match.”
Japanese seventh seed Kei Nishikori was another early winner on day three as he beat American Austin Krajicek 6-3 7-6 (7-5) 6-3, and Czech sixth seedTomas Berdych beat Bosnia and Herzegovina’s Mirza Basic 6-4 6-0 6-3.
Australian Nick Kyrgios reached the third round with a 6-4 7-5 7-6 (7-2) win over Uruguayan Pablo Cuevas, after overcoming wardrobe trouble.
The 20-year-old needed to change his shorts midway because his first pair apparently did not have pockets deep enough to hold balls while he was serving.
“Just a bit of a mix-up before the game. I guess it will be fixed by the next round,” shrugged the 29th seed, whose next opponent Berdych has reached the last two semi-finals at Melbourne Park.
Kyrgios learnt before his match that he had been fined $3,000 for uttering an obscenity in his first-round win over Spain’s Pablo Carreno Busta.
The American, 35, did not fulfil her post-match media commitments after losing in straight sets to Britain’s Konta.
Asked whether her elder sister would return to Melbourne in 2017, defending champion Serena Williams said: “I would assume. She’s never mentioned anything about not being here.”