• Tuesday, Nov 19, 2019
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Australian Open Day Three Highlights: Sharapova through as Federer weather stern test from Evan

  • Published at 05:44 am January 17th, 2019
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Maria Sharapova in action open match against Sweden's Rebecca Peterson during their day three Australian Open match at Melbourne Park on Wednesday Reuters

Highlights of Wednesday's third day of the Australian Open, the first Grand Slam tournament of the year

Holder Roger Federer weathered a stern test from Britain's Dan Evans to reach the Australian Open third round for the 20th straight year on Wednesday, while Rafa Nadal eased past local hope Matthew Ebden.

Federer was forced to play two tiebreaks after Evans impressed the crowd at the Rod Laver Arena with his splendid counter-punching skills.

The 37-year-old Swiss stepped up his game in the final set to prevail 7-6(5) 7-6(3) 6-3 and set up a third round meeting with American Taylor Fritz.

"I couldn't pull away early in the match - it helps when you can sneak in a quick break," said third seed Federer. "He played very well. It was hard to pull away, to his credit."

Spanish second seed Nadal, a 17-time Grand Slam winner, looked in complete control as he struck 33 winners in a 6-3 6-2 6-2 win over Ebden.

In the women's draw, reigning champion Caroline Wozniacki needed just 66 minutes to beat Swede Johanna Larsson 6-1 6-3.

The Dane will next face Russian Maria Sharapova in a clash of former world number one players.

Sharapova, chasing her first title in over a year, broke her Swedish opponent Rebecca Peterson five times in an impressive 6-2 6-1 victory.

Germany's three-time Grand Slam champion Angelique Kerber overcame Brazilian Beatriz Haddad Maia 6-2 6-3, while twice Wimbledon champion Czech Petra Kvitova made quick work of Romania's Irina-Camelia Begu in a 6-1 6-3 triumph.

DIMITROV PASSES CUEVAS TEST

Bulgaria's 20th seed Grigor Dimitrov switched gears after losing the second set tiebreak to beat Uruguayan Pablo Cuevas 6-3 6-7(5) 6-3 7-5 in the second round.

Dimitrov, who is bidding to reach the second week at Melbourne Park for a third consecutive year, will next face Italian Thomas Fabbiano.

VEKIC DUMPED OUT BY AUSTRALIAN QUALIFIER BIRRELL

Australian wildcard Kimberly Birrell beat 29th seed Donna Vekic 6-4 4-6 6-1 in nearly two hours to reach the third round of a Grand Slam for the first time.

CILIC BEATS MCDONALD

Marin Cilic overcame a mid-match blip by losing the second set but recovered to defeat unseeded American Mackenzie McDonald 7-5 6-7(9) 6-4 6-4. The Croatian set up a third round meeting with Fernando Verdasco.

ANDERSON STUNNED BY TIAFOE

Fifth seed Kevin Anderson cruised through the opening set against Frances Tiafoe but lost his way thereafter, allowing the American youngster to seal a 4-6 6-4 6-4 7-5 upset victory.

BARTY TOO GOOD FOR WANG

Local favourite Ashleigh Barty continued her strong start to the tournament as she thumped China's Wang Yafan 6-2 6-3 to move into the third round.

The 15th seed, who warmed up for the season's first major by reaching the final of last week's Sydney International, takes on Maria Sakkari in the third round after the Greek beat local qualifier Astra Sharma 6-1 6-4.

STEPHENS ADVANCES TO FACE MARTIC

American fifth seed Sloane Stephens moved past Timea Babos 6-3 6-1 to set up a third round clash with Croatia's Petra Martic.

SASNOVICH'S SENSE OF HUMOUR ON POINT

Aliaksandra Sasnovich was in a jocular mood following her 6-3 6-3 victory over 20th seed Anett Kontaveit.

"I will of course go eat McDonalds and eat some Nutella," she said when asked how she would prepare for the next round where she meets Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, who upset ninth seed Kiki Bertens 3-6 6-3 6-3.

"No. I'm joking. I will of course go shopping."

GARCIA SHRUGS OFF ATTACK OF HIVES

Women's 19th seed Caroline Garcia ended the hopes of Australian Zoe Hives to become the first player into the third round with a 6-3 6-3 victory in just 65 minutes on the 1573 Arena.

The 22-year-old Hives had provided something of a boost for local fans on Monday when she beat American Bethanie Mattek-Sands in the first round, but was unable to hold off the Frenchwoman, who now will meet either Sachia Vickery or Danielle Collins in the third round.

PLAY UNDERWAY AT MELBOURNE PARK

Play got underway on schedule under sunny skies at 11 a.m. local time (0000 GMT) with the temperature hovering just under the 23 degrees Celsius mark with a forecast high of 26C.