Watch highlights as Roger Federer tops American Noah Rubin 7-5, 6-3, 7-6(3) to reach the third round in Melbourne for the 18th consecutive year. Photo: Getty Images. Video Courtesy Tennis Australia.
Watch highlights as Mischa Zverev comes from a two-set deficit to upset No. 19 seed John Isner at the Australian Open on Wednesday. Photo: Getty Images. Video Courtesy Tennis Australia.
Watch highlights as six-time champions Bob Bryan and Mike Bryan get their 2017 Australian Open campaign off to a successful start. Photo: Getty Images. Video Courtesy Tennis Australia.
Watch highlights as Kei Nishikori defeats Jeremy Chardy in just over two hours on Wednesday at the Australian Open. Photo: Getty Images. Video Courtesy Tennis Australia.
Marcos Baghdatis fits in a haircut ahead of his blockbuster second-round clash with Rafael Nadal at the Australian Open. Photo: Getty Images
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Roger Federer took another successful step in his highly-celebrated comeback on Wednesday at the Australian Open. The Swiss star prevailed past 20-year-old American Noah Rubin 7-5, 6-3, 7-6(3) to reach the third round for the 18th consecutive year, every time Federer has played at Melbourne Park.
“It was a difficult first set [and a] tricky third set, of course,” said Federer. “I had to save a couple of set points. I know it could have gone different. I think I was a bit more consistent than in the first match against [Jurgen] Melzer, where I ended up losing that second set after leading. I think I had a little bit better concentration. I didn't know much about Noah Rubin going in except the info I got from my coaches. I was prepared [and] I was ready to battle. I was able to get the win, so I'm very happy.”
The Swiss star hit 17 aces and won 82 per cent of his first-serve points. Federer had to work in the third set, though. He fell behind 2-5 against the 5'10” American, who failed to convert two set point chances on Federer's serve in the eighth game.
Federer faces a familiar foe in the third round: 10th seed Tomas Berdych, who beat American Ryan Harrison 6-3, 7-6(6), 6-2 in just over two hours. Federer leads their FedEx ATP Head2Head rivalry 16-6, which includes a straight-set quarter-final victory at last year's Australian Open.
“I know I've got to lift my game a little bit,” said Federer, who has won his past five matches against Berdych. “But then again, I haven't seen Tomas play a lot, to be honest. I didn't see anything, basically. Let's put it that way. He was playing at the same time now. I’ve just got to play on my terms and really be focused on my own service games to make sure I don't have any lapses there.”
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Stan Wawrinka stayed perfect on his serve all match long against Steve Johnson to march into the third round of the Australian Open on Wednesday. Wawrinka hit 11 aces and erased all five break points faced to beat the American 6-3, 6-4, 6-4 in one hour and 51 minutes.
Wawrinka, with his potent one-hander, sought to go backhand to backhand often against Johnson, who almost exclusively slices his two-handed backhand in hopes a forehand in the near future. The Swiss was successful, blasting 46 winners to Johnson's 29.
“I'm not relieved, but happy with the match of today - happy with my level, my focus,” admitted Wawrinka. “I was moving well, feeling good. It was a little bit windy, but my level is there. I'm happy to get through in three sets.”
Wawrinka, the fourth seed in Melbourne, captured his first Grand Slam title at Melbourne Park three years ago. He'll play in the third round for the ninth consecutive year. The Swiss star will next play 29th seed Viktor Troicki of Serbia, who defeated Italian Paolo Lorenzi 6-3, 1-6, 7-6(3), 3-6, 6-3 in three hours and 52 minutes.
Mischa Zverev saved two match points in the fourth set at 4-5, 30/40 and at 6/7 in the tie-break before triumphing 6-7(4), 6-7(4), 6-4, 7-6(7), 9-7 over No. 19 seed John Isner in four hours and 19 minutes. Isner hit 33 aces to Zverev’s 22 aces.
"At times I didn't even know the score,” said World No. 50 Zverev, who next faces Tunisia's Malek Jaziri. “I think in the fourth [set] I had 0/40 on his serve and I didn't know that. Then saving match point at 4-5 in the fourth, I also didn't know it was match point. I thought it was 3-4. In the fifth set... I didn't know if it was 9-7 or 10-8."
"Trying to return his serve for four hours is really frustrating... I was so happy that tears were coming. That was the moment you train for, you live for as a tennis player."
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Kei Nishikori must have learned his lesson. After playing a five-set opener in the Melbourne heat on Monday, the Japanese avoided such serious tension during his second-round match, dismissing Frenchman Jeremy Chardy 6-3, 6-4, 6-3 in just over two hours on Wednesday at the Australian Open.
“It was a good match. Definitely much better than the first match. There were many up and downs in the second set and in the third set, too,” Nishikori said.
Nishikori saved six of nine break points faced and made Chardy work all match long on his serve. The fifth-seeded Nishikori converted seven of 18 break points against the 29-year-old Chardy, who was trying to reach the third round in Melbourne for the third time.
Nishikori moves through to the third round for the seventh consecutive year. But the 27-year-old Shimane native has bigger targets in mind for this Melbourne visit. Nishikori will try to improve on his best showing at the Australian Open, the quarter-finals in 2012, 2015, 2016. He will next play Lukas Lacko, who was a 2-6, 6-3, 6-2, 6-4 victor over Dudi Sela.
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga played more efficiently than even Nishikori. The Frenchman, who reached the Melbourne final in 2008 (l. to Djokovic), spent one hour and 45 minutes on court during a 6-2, 6-2, 6-3 rout against Serbian Dusan Lajovic.
The 31-year-old Tsonga crushed 39 winners to only 25 unforced errors. He's now reached the third round at Melbourne Park nine times. Tsonga will next meet American Jack Sock or #NextGenATP star Karen Khachanov.
“I'm playing well for the moment, so I will prepare for the next match and see how it goes,” Tsonga said. “But of course I'm confident because I played well the two first matches. I hope I will be able to play at this level or even better on the next round.”
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