Second set: Tomljanovic* 0-1 Halep Halep breaks to 15 in the opening game of the second set, as Tomljanovic hits three unforced errors and a double fault.
Second set: Garcia* 2-6, 2-5 Osaka While the No2 seed struggles, the No3 seed is looking serene. Osaka’s match started after Halep’s but looks almost over. Osaka has won 93% of points on her first serve in the second set, as well as 47% of points on her opponent’s, and is one game from an early night.
First set: Tomljanovic 6-4 Halep* Tomljanovic breaks to win the opening set! Halep has not had a single easy service game. She won her first to 30, but other than that they’ve all gone to deuce as indeed does this one, eight times. This one game last 15 minutes, with some sensational forehand returning and a couple of fantastic rallies along the way, before Halep sends a forehand into the net to lose the third break point!
First set: Tomljanovic* 5-4 Halep A big game, with Tomljanovic saving a break point on her way to a precious hold, and Halep about to fight to stay in the opening set. Meanwhile on John Cain, Nick Kyrgios is arguing with the umpire, apparently about a let cord decision he didn’t agree with.
First set: Garcia* 2-6 Osaka Naomi Osaka, the No3 seed, is not hanging around. Caroline Garcia, the French world No43, is being fairly emphatically outplayed – other than the two games she won Garcia didn’t have a game point in that set.
First set: Tomljanovic* 4-3 Halep Tomljanovic is absolutely standing should to shoulder, going toe to toe and also mirroring other body parts with Halep here. The match is on serve, but after successive breaks. Halep’s win percentage on her second serve is currently an astonishing 10%.
Here’s a Reuters report on Sorana Cirstea’s shock win over the No9 seed, Petra Kvitova:
Two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova had no excuses for her second-round exit at the Australian Open on Wednesday, refusing to blame the mandatory two-week quarantine for her rusty display in a 6-4 1-6 6-1 defeat by Romanian Sorana Cirstea.
Kvitova recovered well after losing the opening set but her efforts were undone by untidiness, the Czech finishing with 44 unforced errors and seven double faults.
“I think this match wasn’t really about the quarantine or just practicing differently,” said Kvitova, who was allowed outside her hotel room for five hours a day to train. “It’s a little painful and I’m really disappointed about my loss. I didn’t really bring the best tennis today. It’s really hurting. I should have take the first set when I was leading a break … and it would be different story.”
Kvitova jumped out to a 2-0 lead but could not keep a lid on her errors as Cirstea converted each of her three breakpoint opportunities to claim the opening set.
Kvitova, who finished runner-up at Melbourne Park two years ago, showed glimpses of her powerful ball-striking as she raced to a 4-0 lead in the second set before levelling the match when Cirstea handed her a third break with a tame double fault.
Cirstea, however, turned the tables on the Czech in the final set and claimed victory on her third match point with Kvitova hitting a forehand long.
Having secured her first win over a top-10 opponent at a Grand Slam in nine years, Cirstea will next face 19th seed Marketa Vondrousova in a bid to match her best result at the Australian Open – a fourth round showing from four years ago.
“I was one of the few in hard quarantine. I think it’s impressive to come out of 15 days without hitting a ball and competing the way I did today, I wasn’t expecting it,” Cirstea said.
There is a mammoth encounter in progress on the 1573 Arena, where Reilly Opelka is pushing the No27 seed and his fellow American, Taylor Fritz, all the way and then some. Fritz has just broken in the first game of the fifth set to lead 4-6, 7-6, 6-7, 7-6, 1-0 after three hours and 49 minutes, and precisely 350 points. The stats are intriguing: Opelka has hit 88 winners to Fritz’s meagre 45, but also 78 unforced errors to Fritz’s 28.
British interest update: Jamie Murray and Bruno Soares have wrapped up victory over Cameron Norrie and Marcos Giron, 7-6, 6-3.
First set: Tomljanovic 2-2 Halep* A massive game in every sense, and Halep knows she’s in a scrap now. After 16 points, five deuces and four break points, Halep double faults and the first set is back on serve.
Iga Swiatek has wrapped up victory over Camila Giorgi, 6-2, 6-4. Both players had six break points; Swiatek won four of them, Giorgi just one, and though the Italian was excellent at times that doesn’t accurately reflect Swiatek’s superiority. She hit 17 winners to Giorgi’s 11, and 17 unforced errors to Giorgi’s 31. Nick Kyrgios is next on John Cain. Here’s Swiatek on managing expectations as a 19-year-old Grand Slam winner:
Honestly it’s really hard. You know, I’m really ambitious so I have my own expectations so I have to deal with them, and the other expectations from outside, so I’m working on that. I’m working with a psychologist. I feel I’m doing a good job. I guess I have nothing to lose. I just want to enjoy being on court, and try not to think about the outside world while I’m here.
First set: Tomljanovic 0-2 Halep* The Australian World No72 Ajla Tomljanovic is in for a tough evening against the world No2, though when they played in the final of the Adelaide International just last month it was very far from a thrashing, Halep winning 6-4, 7-5. Tomljanovic gets off to a poor start, being broken in the first game of the match.
Iga Swiatek has reasserted control of her match against Camila Giorgi. She has just held serve to lead 5-3 in the second and appears to be on the doorstep of victory, but Giorgi, a Wimbledon quarter-finalist a couple of years back, has at times played excellently, hit some wonderful winners, and generally banked a more than creditable performance.
British interest latest: there are Brits on both sides of the net on Court 15, where Jamie Murray is in doubles action with his Brazilian partner Bruno Soares, up against Marcos Giron, an American, and Cameron Norrie. Murray/Soares are seeded six and edging it so far, leading as they do 7-6, 4-2.
Hello world! There are seven matches currently ongoing, and action about to get under way on the show courts, where the evening session looks like this (Kyrgios and Humbert will have to wait for the end of Iga Swiatek’s match against Camila Giorgi, which from 6-2, 2-0 in favour of the No15 seed has suddenly turned complicated, and it’s now 3-3 in the second):
Rod Laver Arena
Caroline Garcia (France) v Naomi Osaka (Japan, 3)
Maxime Cressy (US) v Alexander Zverev (Germany, 6)
Margaret Court Arena
Alja Tomljanovic (Australia) v Simona Halep (Romania, 2)
Grigor Dimitrov (Bulgaria, 18) v Alex Bolt (Australia)
John Cain Arena
Nick Kyrgios (Australia) v Ugo Humbert (France, 29)
Meanwhile, Bernard Tomic has crashed out of the tournament, defeated 6-1, 6-3, 6-2 by Denis Shapovalov. The Australian qualifier, who progressed to the second round after his first-round opponent retired, made a whopping 40 unforced errors. Shapovalov, the Canadian 11th seed, will face compatriot Felix Auger-Aliassime in the third round.
And in case you missed it, Dominic Thiem made light work of 70th-ranked German Dominik Koepfer 6-4, 6-0, 6-2, and will next play the winner of tonight’s battle between Nick Kyrgios and Ugo Humbert.
Well, the world No 1 rose to the occasion on a court he says is as comfortable as his living room.
“Very tough match,” Djokovic says post-match. “Difficult conditions. While we had sun on the court it was very warm. A lot of long rallies. I want to give a hand to Frances again for a great fight. It was a fantastic match on his part.”
In some ways this type of challenge will get Djokovic into his groove early in the tournament. In others, it will have tired him out.
“The matches will only get tougher,” he says. “It’s not the first time I’m in this kind of situation. I know how to handle these kind of circumstances, but at the same time I was fortunate to get through the third set today. It is probably the most aces I have served to someone and someone has served to me in a long time.”
In the end, Djokovic served 26 aces to Tiafoe’s 23.
He also references Tiafoe’s crucial loss of serve to violation.
“He deserved to have a first serve and play it out to the end.”
On Rod Laver Arena:
“It feels like my living room, to be honest. I feel comfortable playing here. I think the surface has changed over the years – this is probably the quickest speed I have played on at Rod Laver Arena, so you need a big serve, and if you don’t have a big serve you have to grind and win the battle.”
Novak Djokovic beats Frances Tiafoe 6-3 6-7 (3-7) 7-6(7-2) 6-3
These past 20 minutes or so have all but erased Tiafoe’s hopes. His head is no longer in it. Djokovic wins the first point, Tiafoe wins the next with an ace. It’s 30-15, 30-30, 30-40. It’s a double fault that gifts Djokovic victory. A deflating end to a classic, physical match. The pair hug enthusiastically.
Fourth set: Novak Djokovic* 6-3 6-7 (3-7) 7-6(7-2) 5-3 Frances Tiafoe (* denotes server) Djokovic made a crucial break in the last game and serves here. Tiafoe runs to his box to grab a towel for a cursory wipe of the forehead. The umpire has called him out on it, having been lenient on him so far. He has already lost two serves to time violations, though, and now he gets another violation for spraying the umpire with expletives. He loses the game and lifts his racket over his head as if to smash it into the ground, but doesn’t. He’s serving to stay in the match.
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Let’s just take a very quick moment to catch up on some results. Bernard Tomic is down two sets to Denis Shapovalov after the Canadian 11th seed raced to a 6-1, 6-3 lead.
Marton Fucsovics has overcome Stan Wawrinka in a five-set classic that sees the Hungarian progress to the third round.
Ninth seed Petra Kvitova has suffered an upset three-set loss to Sorana Cirstea.
Fourth set: Novak Djokovic 6-3 6-7 (3-7) 7-6(7-2) 2-3 Frances Tiafoe* (* denotes server) Back to the action and there are scenes as Djokovic helps Tiafoe find his shock absorber, which flew off his racket. It is a nice bit of interaction between the pair and also probably a welcome rest. It follows an epic rally that has left Djokovic quite literally hunched over himself. Tiafoe comes back from 0-30 to win the game
Fourth set: Novak Djokovic* 6-3 6-7 (3-7) 7-6(7-2) 2-2 Frances Tiafoe (* denotes server) We’re at deuce and Tiafoe is pushing him all the way but he holds.
I didn’t see much of this game, having looked up from the TV screen once in the past three hours and eight minutes. It was for good reason – to view this video of a lawyer stuck in a cat filter while on a Zoom call. It has honestly made my week.
Fourth set: Novak Djokovic 6-3 6-7 (3-7) 7-6(7-2) 1-2 Frances Tiafoe* (* denotes server) He’s quick, is Tiafoe, but not quick enough to handle his foe’s relentless drives to the baseline. And he’s shaking his head at something as he pauses before serving again. He has a winner, and potentially might have notched another if it weren’t for Djokovic’s sprint to a volley. The latter takes the server to deuce and is heading the tennis ball in celebration. Tiafoe can’t catch a break, and Novak is about to. He has the advantage. Tiafoe sends down an ace. It takes him two goes to convert his following advantages and when he does a “let’s go!” rings out through the stadium. The young challenger is out of jail, for now. He drinks more magic potion, which is likely electrolytes.
Fourth set: Novak Djokovic* 6-3 6-7 (3-7) 7-6(7-2) 1-1 Frances Tiafoe (* denotes server) I really can’t pick this. Tiafoe has a spring in his step as he strides over for a racket change, carrying two of them back out to the court and then returning one. Is that sarcasm from Djokovic? He holds the ball out at the service line as if to say “are you bloody well ready?” and proceeds to win the point. The pair trade blows until Djokovic takes the upper hand at 40-30 and converts via – you guessed it – an ace.
Fourth set: Novak Djokovic 6-3 6-7 (3-7) 7-6(7-2) 0-1 Frances Tiafoe* (* denotes server) Service game to love.
Third set tie-break: Novak Djokovic 6-3 6-7 (3-7) 7-6(7-2) Frances Tiafoe Tiafoe needs these next two points. They are off and trying every play in the handbook until Tiafoe again shakes the net. This play-off is slipping from his grasp. An unforced error makes it 6-2 before Djokovic has the winner and win he does this third set. The clock is at 2:44 now and this match could continue far longer. The pressure is both men. Tiafoe to overturn the deficit, Djokovic to grind him down.
Third set tie-break: Novak Djokovic 6-3 6-7 (3-7) 6-6(4-2) Frances Tiafoe Make that another ace for Novak. He’s muttering under his breath, waiting for Tiafoe’s serve. He faults, lands the second. Djokovic nets after a baseline rally.
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Third set tie-break: Novak Djokovic 6-3 6-7 (3-7) 6-6(3-1) Frances Tiafoe It’s 2-0 to Djokovic and Tiafoe serves an ace. Djoka follows suit.
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Third set: Novak Djokovic 6-3 6-7 (3-7) 6-6 Frances Tiafoe* (* denotes server) Tiafoe is faltering on his first serve. The toss has thrown him off balance. Double fault. He lands one in the next point and an intriguing rally ensues. Tiafoe has his racket over his head and the ball and it spins, lands not far inside the line and swings wide. Djoka has no right to get to it but shoves a gritty response across court. What should have been a relatively straightforward finish to this rally for Tiafoe is a ball that clips the net and dribbles back towards him. That could cost him the game and the set. It doesn’t; he claws his way back to hold and we’re off to that widely predicted tie-break.
Third set: Novak Djokovic* 6-3 6-7 (3-7) 6-5 Frances Tiafoe (* denotes server) Djokovic makes this one quick. Ace, ace, point, ace. He wants to get back to that ice towel quick smart. The shade descends on Rod Laver Arena. Relief, at last.
Third set: Novak Djokovic 6-3 6-7 (3-7) 5-5 Frances Tiafoe* (* denotes server) Tiafoe is being seen to during the change of ends and gargles something before returning to the court. Still, he appears confident. His serve is brutal at times, and he notches another ace, but Djokovic crawls back and is matching him point for point. One triumph is a drop shot, oh so delicate and with a hint of backspin, that nestles just inside Tiafoe’s side of the court. Tiafoe takes his turn via a beautiful drop volley but the Serb has 17 grand slams for a reason, and he not only gets to it but also puts it away. Tiafoe rescues two break points and then converts his advantage with a down-the-line winner. Is there another tie-break in store?
Third set: Novak Djokovic* 6-3 6-7 (3-7) 5-4 Frances Tiafoe (* denotes server) Djoka restores his lead, easy as you like.
Third set: Novak Djokovic 6-3 6-7 (3-7) 4-4 Frances Tiafoe* (* denotes server) Whatever it is, it’s working – at least momentarily. A quick two points. But now he’s lost two. An ace takes care of that, and then another – his 17th thus far – secures parity.
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Third set: Novak Djokovic* 6-3 6-7 (3-7) 4-3 Frances Tiafoe (* denotes server) Tiafoe gives it a “Come on!” but it does little good as his foe down the other end hits the refresh button and wins four straight points. There’s yet another shirt change at the break. Is this a Nadal-esque routine?
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Third set: Novak Djokovic 6-3 6-7 (3-7) 3-3 Frances Tiafoe* (* denotes server) All is square at 15-15, then Tiafoe streaks away and wins every point from here on in. He has just fought back from 3-0 downbreak here could make the difference.
Third set: Novak Djokovic* 6-3 6-7 (3-7) 3-2 Frances Tiafoe (* denotes server) Tiafoe breaks back! The set is back on serve after an almighty effort that has again moved the pendulum of this swinging affair.
Third set: Novak Djokovic 6-3 6-7 (3-7) 3-1 Frances Tiafoe* (* denotes server) Djokovic unleashes a backhand described by commentators as “appropriately aggressive”. It wins him point one. But not point two, courtesy of another mistake. Tiafoe makes two errors. Who can handle the heat? Both are simultaneously not giving an inch but also giving an inch. Tiafoe is somewhat on the back foot at the minute. but he rescues a break point and at 30-40 races in to drive the ball deep to one corner, from where Djokovic wallops it into the net. He toiled, and Tiafoe finally has a game.
Third set: Novak Djokovic* 6-3 6-7 (3-7) 3-0 Frances Tiafoe (* denotes server) And Djokovic consolidates, flying away with his service game that features two aces and another scarcely believable miss from Tiafoe. Djokovic has 15 aces to Tiafoe’s 12. The unforced error count stands at 23-27.
Third set: Novak Djokovic 6-3 6-7 (3-7) 2-0 Frances Tiafoe* (* denotes server) Tiafoe continues to control the rallies. Down 0-15, he runs a tired Djokovic left then right, then two quickfire volleys prove too much. Djokovic bites back in the next point but an ace brings us to 30-30, but he runs around the ball on the left side of the court to play a forehand and it’s a bit high, landing outside the baseline. It’s deuce, then Tiafoe has the ad but cracks first in a baseline rally. He needs to wrap up this service game but he can’t. Novak, with the advantage, executes one of those backhand slices his opponent so relishes, and his next shot barely skims the line. That’s a crucial early break.
Third set: Novak Djokovic* 6-3 6-7 (3-7) 1-0 Frances Tiafoe (* denotes server) Djokovic has an ice towel around his neck. The temperature at Melbourne Park has dropped a couple of degrees to 29 according to the Bureau but doubt they’re feeling it. Tiafoe is embarking on another shirt change. He puts on a yellow one, then takes it off, surveys the drenched blue ones, puts the yellow one back on.
A solid opener from Djokovic, who wins the game to love.
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Second set tie-break: Novak Djokovic 6-3 6-7 (3-7) Frances Tiafoe This latest winner from Tiafoe isn’t in error, though, an immaculate drop shot that he follows with another strong rally to claim the set. He’s pumping his fist and his racket and saying “I love this! I love this!” as he takes a seat and his fans cheer. Tiafoe dictated that tie-break and Djokovic has to bring back his early energy.
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Second set tie-break: Novak Djokovic 6-3 6-6 (3-5) Frances Tiafoe Now he’s apologising as he catches Djokovic’s serve on his frame but it drifts onto the line anyway and wins him the point. Djokovic is back at the net now after some savage baseline back and forths end with an attempted volley that lands past the baseline.
Second set tie-break: Novak Djokovic 6-3 6-6 (3-3) Frances Tiafoe Tiafoe is up 3-2 until Novak sends down an ace that has Tiafoe falling in a heap, literally, venting.
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Second set tie-break: Novak Djokovic 6-3 6-6 (2-2) Frances Tiafoe Tiafoe’s first serve is in the net, second serve is a sfty but he’s clinical this time and runs Djokovic out to the left-hand corner before volleying to the right.
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Second set: Novak Djokovic* 6-3 6-6 Frances Tiafoe (* denotes server) Tiafoe has just made one of the more remarkable misses of the tournament, having set up a perfect point at 15-15 and approached the net for a smash he inexplicably hurled well wide. That was his chance to hit Djoka where it hurts but in an instant it’s gone and Novak takes every point from there on in to take the set to a tie-break.
Second set: Novak Djokovic 6-3 5-6 Frances Tiafoe* (* denotes server) Djokovic falls prey to another ace from his combatant, who is starting to really thrive while the eight-time Australian Open champion appears to be suffering. He’s fidgeting as Tiafoe takes this game from 40-15 and forces him to serve to stay in the set. Djokovic won’t want this to stretch out to four or five sets but it could yet be heading that way.
Second set: Novak Djokovic* 6-3 5-5 Frances Tiafoe (* denotes server) Djokovic has just served his fifth double fault of the match. His first serve is starting to let him down, with the caveat that the very next point is a bullet that forces Tiafoe into a poor choice of shot for an easy winner. The next rally, though, starts with a safe second serve and it is in this situation the American is thriving. As it stands, Novak has won 26/30 points from his first serve and only 12/24 on his second. Still, he wins the game from deuce.
Second set: Novak Djokovic 6-3 4-5 Frances Tiafoe* (* denotes server) Djokovic is down 40-15, having made two unforced errors and despite a double fault from Tiafoe. He takes his place behind the service box, upright and with feet planted wide. Then he’s crouching, waiting. There he stands as the serve swooshes right past him for an ace that gives Tiafoe the game. This has turned into a fascinating match. Tiafoe changes that shirt in the break as Djokovic prepares to serve to stay in the set.
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Second set: Novak Djokovic* 6-3 4-4 Frances Tiafoe (* denotes server) We’re seeing a bit more stroke play now and both players are over the ball. Tiafoe delivers a lovely winner but Djokovic responds, approaching the next to draw his counterpart wide before volleying out of reach into the other corner. TIafoe is drenched in sweat.
Second set: Novak Djokovic 6-3 3-4 Frances Tiafoe* (* denotes server) raced away but two tremendous returns from Djokovic puts his lead on shakier ground. Perhaps under pressure, he finishes the following rally with an attempted crosscourt forehand that slaps the net. At deuce he holds his nerve, though, as Djokovic deposits a backhand into the net and then delivers a serve so ferocious it doesn’t look as if it can be returned. It isn’t returned. Game.
Second set: Novak Djokovic 6-3 3-3 Frances Tiafoe* (* denotes server) There may have been a break of crowd etiquette a little earlier because Djokovic wasn’t happy with a couple of fans cheering for Tiafoe. Don’t let anyone tell you things can’t get rowdy while socially distanced.
Second set: Novak Djokovic* 6-3 2-3 Frances Tiafoe (* denotes server) Tiafoe had served five aces to Djokovic’s nine before this point but he finishes this game with two to win his service to love.
Second set: Novak Djokovic* 6-3 2-2 Frances Tiafoe (* denotes server) Normalcy resumes, somewhat. Djokovic is made to fight from 15-30 down but he serves his way out of a potential hiccup.
Second set: Novak Djokovic 6-3 1-2 Frances Tiafoe* (* denotes server) According to Channel Nine’s flashing statistics, 69% of rallies are being conducted via backhand shots. And it has so far been a bit of a case of who flinches first. This time it’s Tiafoe, and this has not been such an emphatic game as the past two, squeezing into deuce territory. Tiafoe has the advantage and he sends one right and makes his move to approach the net, but Djokovic is too quick to get there and has his body around the ball in anticipation of an acutely angled winner that sails into the far corner. As the pair shift between ad and deuce, a fan in the stands is holding one of those little motorised fans up to cool off her face. We feel you, sister. Tiafoe smacks a forehand Djokovic can’t get to and that’s the game. The 23-year-old leads in a set for the first time to bring about a MOMENTUM SHIFT!
Second set: Novak Djokovic* 6-3 1-1 Frances Tiafoe (* denotes server) Djokovic does this one to love.
Second set: Novak Djokovic 6-3 0-1 Frances Tiafoe* (* denotes server) Tiafoe may have lost that battle but he’s determined not to lose the war just yet, and he claims his service game to love.
First set: Novak Djokovic* 6-3 Frances Tiafoe (* denotes server) Error. Error. Ace. Double fault. Winner. And that’s the first set done and dusted in 23 minutes.
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