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Aus Open PIX: Raducanu, Murray ousted; Medvedev advances

Last updated on: January 20, 2022 17:31 IST

Images from Day 4 of the Australian Open in Melbourne on Thursday.

IMAGE: Danka Kovinic of Montenegro celebrates winning her second round match against Emma Raducanu during day four of the 2022 Australian Open at Melbourne Park on Thursday. Photograph: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

US Open champion Emma Raducanu was bundled out of the Australian Open in the second round as she was beaten 6-4, 4-6, 6-3 by Montenegro's Danka Kovinic.

The 19-year-old British sensation was hampered by a blistered racket hand from early in the first set of a tense contest on Margaret Court Arena but showed great fighting spirit to stay in contention.

 

With her usually powerful forehand reduced to a slice, Raducanu let slip a 3-0 lead to lose the first set.

IMAGE: British sensation Emma Raducanu was hampered by a blistered racket hand from early in the first set. Photograph: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

But she played on her 98th-ranked opponent's nerves to break at 4-4 in the second and take the match into a decider.

Kovinic showed great composure to forge ahead in the deciding set, resist a Raducanu fightback, and then move 5-3 ahead as the British youngster finally looked a little weary.

A stunning backhand winner sealed victory for the 27-year-old Kovinic as she moved into the third round of a Grand Slam for the first time.

Medvedev halts Kyrgios show to reach third round

IMAGE: Daniil Medvedev celebrates after winning his second round match against Nick Kyrgios. Photograph: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

World number two Daniil Medvedev put an end to the Nick Kyrgios show at this year's Australian Open dumping out the mercurial local hope with a clinical 7-6(1), 6-4, 4-6, 6-2 victory to reach the third round.

A capacity 50% crowd cheered on every Kyrgios point at a floodlit Rod Laver Arena but despite their fanatic support, the Australian maverick could not find a way past the US Open champion who showed nerves of steel.

IMAGE: Nick Kyrgios could not find a way past US Open champion Daniil Medvedev who showed nerves of steel. Photograph: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

An inspired Kyrgios forced a break of serve in the third set to take the match into the fourth but Medvedev, who is the highest-ranked men's player remaining following Novak Djokovic's deportation, soon regained control.

A double break in the fourth set made it look easy for last year's Australian Open finalist and he will next meet 57th-ranked Botic van de Zandschulp of the Netherlands for a place in the fourth round.

"I came to win this match and I am happy to do it," said Medvedev. "It's not easy when you get booed between the first and second serve. I had to stay calm."

IMAGE: Japan's Taro Daniel celebrates winning his second round match against Andy Murray. Photograph: Quinn Rooney/Getty Images

Andy Murray's long-awaited return to the Australian Open was brought to a disappointing end in the second round on Thursday when the three-times Grand Slam champion was ushered out of the tournament 6-4, 6-4, 6-4 by world number 120 Taro Daniel.

Perhaps still feeling the effects of his gruelling five-set battle in the opening round on Tuesday, the 34-year-old Scot looked out of sorts as his inspired Japanese opponent bounced along the baseline firing winner after winner.

Former world number one Murray showed no more than flashes of the brilliant tennis that got him to five Australian Open finals as he made 34 unforced errors over the first two sets on John Cain Arena.

To the delight of the crowd, Murray edged ahead at 2-0 in the third set but Daniel broke back immediately and 45 minutes later had booked his first Grand Slam third-round tie against Steve Johnson or Jannik Sinner.

Tsitsipas toils past Baez to seal third-round spot

IMAGE: Stefanos Tsitsipas broke Sebastian Baez's serve three times in the third and fourth sets to seal the contest with an unreturned serve on his second matchpoint on at the Margaret Court Arena. Photograph: Quinn Rooney/Getty Images

World number four Stefanos Tsitsipas was made to work hard by Sebastian Baez on Thursday before raising his game to beat the upcoming Argentinian 7-6(1), 6-7(5), 6-3, 6-4 and reach the third round of the Australian Open.

In the first clash between two former world number one juniors, Tsitsipas - a two-time Australian Open semi-finalist - dominated proceedings early on but the 21-year-old Baez, ranked 88th and making his Grand Slam debut, then showed why he is rated so highly.

"It wasn't easy. I'm glad I overcame that obstacle today," Tsitsipas said on court. "Lot's of fighting, a little bit of swearing but glad to be in the third round.

"It was a pretty hot day today playing here but I tried to play with heart and it paid off in the end."

Baez, who won six Challenger-level titles in 2021, came back from 0-40 down to hold his first two service games and then fought toe-to-toe with the French Open finalist to level the match at 1-1 after two tiebreakers.

The Argentine's big forehand troubled Tsitsipas, but the 23-year-old Greek found solutions and broke Baez's serve three times in the third and fourth sets to seal the contest with an unreturned serve on his second matchpoint on at the Margaret Court Arena.

"He is a great player. I haven't see him play much," Tsitsipas said, adding that he put a "bit more" into his strokes in the third and fourth sets.

"I wish him the best... one of the biggest forehands I have faced so I hope with the right work and right mentality he can reach his goals and make an impact in the game."

Tsitsipas will next meet the winner of the match between 26th-seeded Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov and Benoit Paire of France.

Muguruza knocked out by Cornet

IMAGE: Alize Cornet celebrates after winning a point during her second round match against Garbine Muguruza. Photograph: Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images

Former Wimbledon champion Garbine Muguruza crashed out of the Australian Open on Thursday as she succumbed to a surprise second round 6-3, 6-3 loss to France's Alize Cornet.

Cornet gave the Spanish number three seed little respite throughout her straight sets win to advance to the next round, where she will face either Heather Watson or Tamara Zidansek.

"I feel amazing and I think I played a great match out there today," said Cornet.

"My state of mind was perfect, I was super focused on what I had to do.

"I felt like in a bubble and you always have to play a super good match to beat Garbine as she's such a fighter."

IMAGE: 2020 Australian Open runner-up Garbine Muguruza hits a backhand during the second round match. Photograph: Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images

Cornet made a rapid start, securing an early break and kept Muruguza, the 2020 Australian Open runner-up, under constant pressure to close out the set.

It was a similar story in the second set, even as Muguruza attempted to fight back, but a series of unforced errors and Cornet's determination saw the Frenchwoman close out the match.

Stosur bows out of singles

IMAGE: Samantha Stosur of Australia acknowledges the crowd after playing her last career singles match against Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova of Russia. Photograph: Quinn Rooney/Getty Images

Sam Stosur's 69th and final appearance in a Grand Slam singles draw ended in a 6-2, 6-2 second-round loss to 10th seeded Russian Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova at the Australian Open on Thursday.

The 37-year-old said last month that she would focus only on doubles after her 20th singles appearance at her home Grand Slam going back to 2002.

The former US Open champion had recovered from a set down for a rousing victory in her opening contest at Melbourne Park on Tuesday but there was to be no repeat on Kia Arena.

"I ran for everything as hard as I could to try and draw it out a little bit more, but Pav played great today and she was just too good," she said.

For a long time the player most likely to end Australia's now 44-year wait for a homegrown women's champion, the former world number four reached the fourth round at Melbourne Park twice.

She enjoyed more Grand Slam success outside her homeland, most notably her victory over Serena Williams in the final of the 2011 US Open and finishing runner-up at the French Open a year earlier.

"I've done more than I ever thought was possible," she said. "To do what I dreamed of doing as a little kid was phenomenal and I couldn't ask for any more.

"I've had many great moments here in Australia and around the world. It's been amazing."

Pavlyuchenkova, three times a Melbourne Park quarter-finallist, powered down 13 winners in the opening set and eight more in the second to set up a third round tie against Sorana Cirstea.

Stosur received a standing ovation from the crowd at Melbourne Park's newest show court after Pavlyuchenkova hammered a forehand winner across the net to conclude the contest.

"I had gooesbumps when everyone was clapping for Sam," said the Russian. "She's such a great human being and an amazing tennis player."

The cheers turned to boos when Australian Open tournament director Craig Tiley, under fire for his role in the Novak Djokovic saga, made his first public appearance of the week to congratulate Stosur on her singles career.

Sabalenka survives service meltdown to avoid seed exodus

IMAGE: Sabalenka double-faulted 19 times but managed to rally to beat Wang Xinyu and advance to the third round. Photograph: Quinn Rooney/Getty Images

World number two Aryna Sabalenka survived a complete service meltdown to rally for a 1-6, 6-4, 6-2 victory over Wang Xinyu and avoid joining an exodus of top women's seeds early on Thursday at the Australian Open.

Taking to court just after third seed Garbine Muguruza and sixth seed Anett Kontaveit had crashed out of the second round, Sabalenka looked to be going the same way when she double-faulted six times in her opening service game.

Her 12th double fault handed Chinese world number 100 Wang the opening set but even though the services errors continued, the Belarussian battled back to even up the contest on Rod Laver Arena.

Sabalenka had to rely on the rest of her game to keep her out of trouble as the double faults kept coming -- there were 19 in all over the match -- but ultimately progressed when Wang went long with a forehand.

"I already had a lot of experience playing without the serve so I was just telling myself 'you have enough shots to still win the match even if you cannot serve'," Sabalenka said.

"This kind of mentality helped me to stay in the game and actually find my serve."

Sabalenka, who served up 12 double faults as she came from a set down in her first round match against local wild card Storm Sanders on Tuesday, will face 2019 French Open finalist Marketa Vondrousova in the third round.

"It's another tough opponent, I've played great matches against her," said Sabalenka.

Iga Swiatek will be waiting for Sabalenka in the quarter-finals if they both get that far and she was the only one of the top seeds in early action on Thursday to come through her match without any issues.

The seventh-seeded former French Open champion confirmed her strong form by swatting aside Rebecca Peterson 6-2, 6-2 on John Cain Arena.

"Just starting the match with a confidence was pretty important for me," the Pole said.

"I felt like I was dominating from the beginning. After getting few breaks, it was much, much easier to go forward."

Source: REUTERS
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