Melbourne, Jan 16 (IANS) Defending Australian Open title holders Roger Federer and Caroline Wozniacki looked to stamp their authority on the competition in their second round match-ups on Wednesday, sending a warning to the rest of the field by blitzing their opponents in straight sets.
Hunting his 100th ATP singles title at this year’s tournament, Swiss ace Roger Federer showed his class against Dan Evans, defeating the Englishman 6-7 (5), 6-7 (3), 3-6.
It was a similar story for long-time rival Rafael Nadal, who made short work of local player Matthew Ebden 6-3, 6-2, 6-2, while last year’s finalist Marin Cilic won a hard-fought battle against American youngster Mackenzie McDonald, 7-5, 6-7 (9), 6-4, 6-4, reports Efe news.
For local fans, the progression of 19-year-old sensation Alex de Minaur was the highlight of day, with his gripping five-set thriller against Henri Laaksonen lasting just under four hours.
In the end, the back-and-forth marathon match finished in de Minaur’s favor with a score of 6-4, 6-2, 7-6 (7), 4-6, 6-3, to the delight of the home crowd.
In other high-profile men’s matches, Grigor Dimitrov overcame Pablo Cuevas 6-3, 6-7 (5), 6-3, 7-5, and veteran Tomas Berdych was too good for Robin Haase, winning their tie 6-1, 6-3, 6-3.
In the women’s bracket, Wozniacki showed her aggressive side, dispatching Johanna Larsson 6-1, 6-3, while world No. 2 Angelique Kerber had too much firepower for Beatriz Haddad Maia, winning the match 6-2, 6-3, while American Sloane Stephens also made it look easy against Timea Babos, taking that contest 6-3, 6-1.
In what was another high point for Australian fans, world No. 15 Ashley Barty outgunned Chinese star Wang Yafan 6-2, 6-3, and while there weren’t many significant upsets on day three in Melbourne, a notable exception came when world No. 9 Kiki Bertens crashed out against Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 3-6, 6-3, 6-3.