Three of the casket
The second “hat-trick" in a row was arranged on the Australian Open courts by leading Russian tennis players. True, unlike the first round, this time there were some problems. Karen Khachanov "gave birth", by his own admission, 4 hours 34 minutes. That is how much Michael Imer resisted. Moreover, not only resisted, but was close to leaving the favorite behind the competition. First, he twice returned to the game after losing in odd sets, and then in the decisive one he did the same trick, making two consecutive breaks with a 3: 5 score on games in favor of the Russian.
But the Swede could not submit for the match. And twice! First, in the 12th game, at a parity of 30, Karen showed amazing endurance and accuracy during shootings on the back line, and then did not allow his opponent in a tiebreaker, who is a step away from a triple match ball, to develop an advantage. Imer won 8: 6, but did not control his nerves and gave four rallies in a row, and with them a ticket to the third round. What Yevgeny Kafelnikov instantly responded with a tweet: "At Khachanov’s games, validol ends after the first set."
⏱ 4️⃣: 3️⃣5️⃣ ⏱ @ karenkhachanov survives Mikael Ymer 6-2 2-6 6-4 3-6 7-6 (8) to reach the third round for the second consecutive year at the #AusOpen.
Up next: @NickKyrgios 🍿 # AO2020pic.twitter.com / FqiFlqZB6x
But Daniil Medvedev and Andrei Rublev did not give the rivals a set. A not too long stay on the court in light of not very simple weather conditions should help both save energy before the next matches, which with a high degree of probability will be much more difficult.
First of all, this concerns Rublev, who won two tournaments in a row in Doha and Adelaide at the start of the season and the leader in the ATP tour not only in the number of matches played since the beginning of the year, but also in the number of victories won in them (10). On Thursday, he without any particular problems removed Yuiti Sugita from his path - 6: 3, 6: 2, 7: 6 (7: 5). Best of all, the superiority of the Russian is emphasized by 20 aces, 90% of those won on the first serve of points and the absence of break points in the Japanese, which is very rare at such a level.
17th seed @ AndreyRublev97 is back in the #AusOpen third round!
He dispatches Sugita 6-2 6-3 7-6 (5). # AO2020pic.twitter.com/ZdCapbTQpW
Medvedev was more wasteful in a meeting with Pedro Martinez-Portero, even though he made almost half as many unforced errors as compared to the opening match at the tournament. Moreover, he not only provided the Spaniard with several chances, but even once presented the pitch. This happened in the first set with a score of 4: 2 in their favor. The 168th racket of the world hoped to "live" to a tie-break and catch on there, but Daniel's class affected the 12th game. After that, the match turned into a one-way street - 7: 5, 6: 1, 6: 3.
🙈 No-look backhand volley, courtesy of @ DaniilMedwed # AO2020 | # AusOpenpic.twitter.com / VRdN78X72v- #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 23, 2020
Much more than the level of opposition of tennis fans was excited about the blood that went from his nose during the match. However, Medvedev assured everyone that there was no need to worry: “This happens to me sometimes. Usually not during matches. I had to stop her. It took three to four minutes. I called a physiotherapist to help me. In general, this is nonsense. Once or twice a year, I encounter such a problem. This is not connected with the pressure in any way - otherwise I would have been bleeding in every match. ”
Departures Blinkova and Kuznetsova
The girls failed to follow the example of compatriots. In a meeting with Zarina Diyas, Anna Blinkova was let down by a crazy number of unforced errors even for three sets (53), as well as a catastrophic game on her pitch - out of 15 games she gave a vis-a-vis 9. Because the match did not end faster and the intrigue remained until the end, the Russian woman should thank the representative of Kazakhstan, who suddenly began to make a mistake when the score was 4: 1 in her favor in the starting game. In the other two, she did this much less often, thanks to which for the first time since 2017 she reached the 1/16 finals of the TBS.
Svetlana Kuznetsova at the Australian Open once made her way to the quarter-finals, but now is no longer able to surprise fans of her talent on an ongoing basis. Breaking the “curse” of the first rounds on the majors - before defeating Market Vondroushyova, the Russian woman flew out five times in a row - the former racket of the world surrendered to Camille Georgie almost without a fight. In viscous tennis without unnecessary risk, the Italian was faster and more accurate. The exception was only the first game in the match, which turned into a break for her. Kuznetsov did not save even 81% of the hit with the first serve in the second set - 3: 6, 1: 6.
Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova and Taylor Townsend, on the contrary, did not hesitate to drive each other on the court and direct the balls as close to the lines as possible. However, the confrontation, in which endurance was to come to the fore, did not survive to the decisive party. Only the American is to blame for this, having ceteris paribus the 12th game of the first set and all four of her innings in the second tie-break - 7: 5, 7: 6 (7: 1). But celebrating the victory of a 28-year-old Muscovite is not worth it for too long. In the next round, Karolina Plishkova will examine her.
A nightmare of Australians
Not only the Czech on Thursday confirmed its high class, but also other favorites. The next round was stepped by all the seeded girls from the top 20, with the exception of Carolina Mukhova. Tu was stopped by 20-year-old American Catherine Bellis, whom doctors predicted an early end to her career due to a brush injury received in 2018. However, a half-year simple and three operations carried out did not stop the 600th racket, and now it will compete in the second week with the Belgian Elise Mertens.
Of the other matches of the day, the confident victories of the Romanian Simone Halep, the Dutch Kiki Bertens and the German Angelica Kerber over the mistresses of the court Harriet Dart, Arina Rodionova and Priscilla Hon stand out. The Australians for three took only 19 games, but never managed to cling to the set. Isla Tomlyanovich, who did not find arguments against the once first racket of the world Garbinier Mugurusi, also upset her compatriots. The only difference is that the native of Zagreb was enough for one set - 3: 6, 6: 3, 3: 6.
Gulbis Achievement and Three Comebacks
Call a sensation similar to the one presented by Bellis, you can go to the third round of the men's singles Ernest Gulbis, even if you take into account that not the most difficult opponent opposed him - Slovenian Alyazh Bedene. After Wimbledon in 2018, the Latvian actually disappeared from the radar and fell to the 256th line in the rating of the ATP tour.
In Melbourne, nothing outstanding was expected from him, because previous attempts had ended unsuccessfully (Ernest lost 10 of 12 matches in the tournament for his career), but Gulbis surprised by passing qualifications and the first two rounds in one go, extending his unbeaten run to five matches. Thanks to this, he became the first tennis player since 2005, who managed to get this far, being outside the top 250.
The victory of the once formidable Fernando Verdasco over Nikoloz Basilashvili in four sets is no less remarkable, as the Georgian became the only player with sowing that was not counted on Thursday. All the rest, who are half heartbroken, who are confident, have overcome the next barriers.
Nick Kirios took a step towards Karen Khachanov, defeating Gilles Simon in his native walls (6: 2, 6: 4, 4: 6, 7: 5). Austrian Dominic Tim survived in the confrontation with the owner of the wildcard Alex Bolt, although inferior in sets 1: 2. His future rival, American Taylor Fritz, returned at all with 0: 2 and 5: 6 in the third set in a duel with South African Kevin Anderson.
Nick reigns supreme 🙌 @ NickKyrgios holds firm against Gilles Simon, def. the Frenchman 6-2 6-4 4-6 7-5 and reaching the third round at the #AusOpen for the fourth time. # AO2020pic.twitter.com / LsSeFKzPDf- #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 23, 2020
Another thriller issued by Stan Wawrinka and Andreas Seppi. It ended with the victory of a more experienced Swiss, although the Italian took the first serve in the fifth set, and he did it in the seventh game, which is considered to be the key by default.
Rafael Nadal odd in his own way. He did not manage to realize 17 break points out of 20 in a match with Federico Delbonis. Largely because of this, the Spaniard played out before a tie break in the second set. However, this did not save from the “dry” defeat of the Argentinean.
ICYMI A moment * that * ball kid will never forget ..
And nor will @ RafaelNadal # AusOpen I # AO2020pic.twitter.com / pnOiQUWxOc
As well as a little earlier Yegor Gerasimov in a duel with Alexander Zverev. The Belarusian tried in every possible way to prove to the favorite his solvency, but he was invariably mistaken at key moments in his submission - with a score of 5: 6 on a tie-break, as well as in the 10th and 12th games of the second and third sets.