Federer, Nadal Ease Into Australian Open Third Round; Sharapova Survives Heat Test
by Staff | January 16th, 2014, 9:39 am

Friends and rivals Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal both won concurrent straight-set matches Thursday to advance to the third round at the Australian Open.

With heat forcing the closure of both the Laver and Hisense roofs and luck playing a role, Federer and Nadal began their match at roughly the same time, a rare treat for tennis fans.

Playing his first contest on Hisense in 10 years, Federer won his 70th career match at the tournament which he has claimed four times before with a 6-2, 6-1, 7-6 victory over Blaz Kavcic.

The Swiss who made the third set tougher than it needed to be, was again under the watch of new coach Stefan Edberg.

“I’m happy on a hot day like this,” said Federer. “It was a good first two sets I thought. I played really aggressive and it worked out. Third set I think he was more consistent. He served better. In the process, it got closer. I’m happy I got it done in three.

“It was nice, I enjoyed [playing on Hisense]. It’s not really different to Rod Laver Arena. Just dimensions feel the same. I don’t feel like you need to make an adjustment. The crowds were really nice. Great atmosphere over there. I was happy playing there.”

Federer will now face Teymuraz Gabashvili on Saturday after the Russian upended Fernando Verdasco in five sets.

Keeping pace was Nadal who blitzed 17-year-old Australian hope Thanasi Kokkinakis 6-2, 6-4, 6-2.

“He will have the chance to be a great player,” said Nadal of the 2013 junior Australian runner-up. “That’s my feeling. He has everything to do it. He played two junior finals at Grand Slams last year, so he has a great future. He has the right level to try to be on the tour very soon. So just keep working and that will happen.”

Kokkinakis added, “Physically I think is probably the biggest thing that needs to improve. That’s pretty much the thing I see. Just physically he’s a beast. I’ve obviously got a ways to go to get that strong and fit.”

Before the Extreme Heat Policy went into effect around 2pm, Maria Sharapova beat the sweltering 107F+ conditions and her opponent Karin Knapp 6-4, 4-6, 10-8 in 3 hours, 28 minutes, the longest women’s match of the tournament.

“There’s no way of getting around the fact that the conditions were extremely difficult, and have been like that the last few days,” Sharapova said. “But you’re really just trying to get through the match in the best possible way. No matter how you’re playing, you’re trying to make it as safe as possible.

“I’m really happy to get through today. I really am. I worked really hard in the last few months and I wanted this match. I didn’t play my best tennis; I didn’t do many things well. But I got through it.”

Play was then suspended on the outer courts for a period of four hours until 6pm. Before then, former No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki was able to put away American Christina McHale 6-1, 1-6, 6-2. Aga Radwanska also advanced as did former finalist Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.

Once the temps cooled the day was then interrupted by a 90 minute rain delay. Finally, after some scattershot play, matches continued.

2013 semifinalist Sloane Stephens shook off Ajla Tomljanovic 3-6, 6-2, 7-5. Stephens won seven games in a row from 36 22 to build a 36 62 30 lead, then the rain fell and Tomljanovic won five games in a row upon resumption, but then Stephens won four games to end it.

“I think it was scary, because we were playing through the lightning when it was like 2-0, or the 1-0 game,” Stephens said. “It was lightning like crazy ridiculous. It was intense. Like that’s the worst thing, to be outside when it’s lightning, or to be in the middle of the ocean like by yourself.”

Two-time defending champion Victoria Azarenka toughed out a second set to beat Barbora Zahlavova Strycova 6-1, 6-4.

Andy Murray followed the Belarussian by winning the last 23 points to erase a 5-1 deficit to beat Vincent Millot 6-2, 6-2, 7-5.

Seen on crutches a week ago, Gilles S imon won his second straight 5-set match, the latest over Marin Cilic.

In the big surprise of the day Juan Martin del Potro was dumped well after 1am by Roberto Bautista Agut 7-5 in the fifth set. That leaves Milos Raonic as the highest seed remaining the that section.

And in the final match of the day, Frenchman Benoit Paire overcame a two set deficit to beat the cramping 18-year-old Nick Kyrgios 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 6-2, 6-2.

Despite the losses, Kyrgios and Kokkinakis both showed that Australia has a very, very bright future in men’s tennis.

The third round begins on Friday with top favorites Serena Williams and Novak Djokovic.


Rod Laver Arena 11:00 am Start Time
Serena Williams (USA)[1] vs. Daniela Hantuchova (SVK)[31]
Jeremy Chardy (FRA)[29] vs. David Ferrer (ESP)[3]
Not Before: 2.00pm
Jie Zheng (CHN) vs. Casey Dellacqua (AUS)
Rod Laver Arena 7:00 pm Start Time
Samantha Stosur (AUS)[17] vs. Ana Ivanovic (SRB)[14]
Denis Istomin (UZB) vs. Novak Djokovic (SRB)[2]

Hisense Arena 11:00 am Start Time
Angelique Kerber (GER)[9] vs. Alison Riske (USA)
Na Li (CHN)[4] vs. Lucie Safarova (CZE)[26]
Tomas Berdych (CZE)[7] vs. Damir Dzumhur (BIH)
Hisense Arena 7:00 pm Start Time
Tommy Robredo (ESP)[17] vs. Richard Gasquet (FRA)[9]

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Verdict In Maria Sharapova’s Appeal Of Her 2-Year Ban To Be Announced 9am ET Tuesday
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Roger Federer: The Heat Is A Mental Thing, If You Can’t Deal With It, You Throw In The Towel
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30 Comments for Federer, Nadal Ease Into Australian Open Third Round; Sharapova Survives Heat Test

Ty Says:

Del Potro? What is it with these guys? No one has the balls to face Nadal except Djokovic.

Ben Pronin Says:

If Del Potro is afraid of facing Nadal, why not wait until the 4th round to lose?

Daniel Says:

And some placed DelPo ahead of Federer as favorite for this year AO. Delpo never plays well here, it’s his worst Slam.

Now Nadal’s draw looking good, No DelPo in quarters, possible Fed or Murray in semis (one old, the other regaining form)a d both haven’t beat Nadal in a Slam since ages?! They are probably the two top players who fear Nadal the most.

Giles Says:

I have been following the Spaniard Beautista Agut for a while now. Am not really surprised, the man has great potential.
Hope he calms down for Rafa though! Lol

Giles Says:

Didn’t realise Rafa will meet Monfils next.
Vamos Rafa!

Giles Says:

How about this amazing stat- Delpo has now lost 7 straight 5 setters.

Okiegal Says:

Delpo hasn’t done worth a rip in 5 setters since he won the USO……that was also pre wrist injury times, I think. The heat takes its toll on the bigger guys, so it seems. Was sorry for the gentle giant…..I like him. Better luck next time JMD!!

Vamos Rafa!!

Okiegal Says:

Seems like to me Rafa’s serve is a little sharper than it has been…..more aces than usual……good for him! It’s going to take all hands and the cook to make it this final, me thinks!!


Kimberly Says:

No mention of Donald Young beating Seppi? I actually somehow picked him to the third round in the bracket. He won a bunch of challengers at the end of last year! Maybe its finally time for Donald!

The sharapova match was ugly but she lives too see another day. Remember Serena has had some awful matches in tournaments she has won, Jie Zheng 12-10 in the third comes to mind, a brutal one v. Shahar Peer another time. Nadal won the wimbeldon where he went five with Haase and Petschner so sometimes it is all about living to see another day. And Djoker challenged Nadal in the FO final where he played less than stellar v. seppi and then Tsonga. So live to see another day and you never know what can happen!

the DA Says:

@daniel – “possible Fed or Murray in semis”

Or Tsonga, who beat him in straights here once.

“They are probably the two top players who fear Nadal the most.”

Pfffft! Andy doesn’t fear him. His H2H at AO is 1-1 and at USO 1-1. This is HC not Wimbledon or RG ;P

Okiegal Says:

I guess Roger is trying to drive is point home as the picture above shows…He can take the heat!! That sand has to be super duper h o t!! Of course, the picture could have been taken anywhere…..but sand is hot where ever!!

kjb Says:

Too bad for Delpo. He just doesn’t have the consistency the other top guys have. Rafa will be happy to avoid that one but until he beats a big name in a slam again(its been almost 5 years!) I really didn’t see him troubling Rafa these days anyway.

Fed is looking pretty sharp and I am loving his net rushes but can’t completly judge his form until he meets Tsonga(if it happens).

Go Fed!

hawkeye Says:

Fed usually looks very sharp when he plays low ranked players. Gives commies false sense of security (Wilander, et. al.).

Andy thinks that Nadal is probably the best player to ever play the game so if he doesn’t fear him, he fears nobody.

Good for Andy!

Bad Knee Rules Says:

The crowd that Paire had to up with was mixture of football hooligans and cage fighters. The DC crowd is Dysneyland compare to last night’s crowd. In one corner we had football fans doing their dance, fanatic singing, cage fighters sitting in the front row and banging add panels, screaming in the middle of the points. I admire Paire for staying composed and winnig the match, I like the guy anyway. His retrieving game was great and he let Kyrgios do the hard work while he stayed back. Kyrgios was good but he needs a good coach and some court manners.

Kimberly Says:

Paire is a shot maker with an unusual style. Not my type of okayer but I always admire one with a lot of skill.

Serena is too good.

Jo Says:

Fed will be dangerous here. He is a better server and a new style of more attack on the net (Edberg, Sampras style) that is suited for this fast court.

Michael Says:

Heat is another invariable and a test for the players to prove their mettle. But I think the Australian Open authorities should be extra cautious in not allowing things to go out of control where for instance a player develops heat stroke which may prove fatal. I think the extreme heat policy should be used judiciously and protect the players. Also, the conditions should be equal for everyone and not be partial to the big players. You cannot allow the bigger players to play with roof on in Rod Laver and Hisensa and on the other hand allow the smaller players to roast in heat in other courts. That will be a great injustice to the smaller players who would be robbed of their stamina and they would fail to stand ground in later rounds when they might be meeting the big players making competition unequal.

Michael Says:

With the exit of Del Potro, Rafa should be breathing easy. If there was any other player other than Novak who can give a test for Rafa, it was Del Potro. But the problem is that he is physically weaker and cannot adopt to unfavourable conditions, particularly at the Australian Open where heat blazes up mercilessly. Del Potro should learn from Novak who had similar problems earlier in his career and how he shaped himself up to become a go-getter and develop a never-say-never-die attitude.

Humble Rafa Says:

Saying Vamos invites unnecessary enemies in these hallowed forums.

Just another public service announcement to the Humble NAtion.

Michael Says:

Roger has past the second round and from hereon things could prove much tougher for him and this must probably be the toughest draw in his career, where he is supposed to meet Tsonga in the fourth and then if he is through, Murray in the quarters and then probably Rafa in the semis and if he survives till then, then might probably face Novak for the title. That is a very tall order which might be difficult even in his hey days and today he being a pale shadow of what he was, I do not see him getting through. He should be happy if he makes the quarters in my opinion.

skeezer Says:

^at least he has(gotten to the second rd of a Slam) . Some big time players haven’t in the past, hehe. Apparently they couldn’t get past those “easy” first rounders.

skeezer Says:

“Fed usually looks very sharp when he plays low ranked players.”
Yes he does. And at least its not common for him to lose in first or second rounds, you know, against 100+ ranked players, LMAO.

Eric Says:

Z-list line umpires in the Stosur-Ivanovic match?

Eric Says:

…and a chair who doesn’t know what the score is

Giles Says:

JJ knocked out by Florian Mayer

Giles Says:

Joker getting the crowd involved, asking whether the ball was in or out, speaking to chair umpire and then challenges a call.
Full of tricks!

hawkeye Says:

“easy” players like Delbonis, Brands, Stakhovsky.

Oh wait…

madmax Says:

No Hawkeye,

ummm, Waske, Muller, Blake, Ljubicic, Youzhny, …#Melzer, Mayer, Lopez, (recently), yees. Good players, but COME ON! though I guess most shockingly:

Rosol (100) and Darcis (135) Zeballos (65)

madmax Says:

World number 1 player?

Come on Hawkeye!

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