So, that concludes the third day, and it’s been a day without shocks, with Zverev, Osaka, Barty and, finally, Monfils all through to complete the set.
“Good vibes, good crowd, good Gaël,” says a very cool and relaxed Monfils. “Serving great, good powerful shots, a couple of trick shots, all good. I had a tough time and I feel great, strong. Always ready, born ready.”
A return of service - with love - from Naomi Osaka to Andy Murray.
Monfils beats 6-1 6-0 64
Bublik serves out the next game at speed, and so Monfils must serve out the next game to win. Monfils works Bublik round the court to level at 15-15. Then Bublik shanks the ball for 30-15, then the ball takes an age to come down for a crashing winner. Two match points it is, and the first is gobbled up. That’s it, a win in one hour and 29 minutes.
There’s life in Bublik yet, and Monfils skids to net a drop volley to hand over break point. That’s saved in style as the Frenchman clatters a winner home. Then Bublik goes long to allow Monfils to save two breaks and he’s a game away from the next round. 5-3 in the third set.
Monfils claims a break point with a clattering backhand and then Bublik chucks in an underarm serve out of desperation. It fails and it’s 4-3 to Monfils, and victory is in sight.
Some acrobatics, and the tennis version of the rabona can’t save Monfils on 30-15, and Bublik blasts back to 30-30, only for a loose shot to hand Monfils game point and 3-3.
Monfils and Bublik seem to have drawn closer to each other, with the Kazakhstani saving break point to take a 3-2 lead in the third set.
Bublik looks to have given up the ghost, he’s giggling after hitting the net from a very winnable position. He then screams into the ether after missing another one. Still, it goes to deuce. Monfils needs not to get distracted by such antics, and Bublik holds.
That leaves just Gael Monfils and Alexander Bublik on court, and Monfils looks well on course, having won the first two sets against Bublik 6-1 6-0. Bublik, with some relief, has just won the first game of the third set.
Alexander Zverev speaks to multiple Paralympian gold medallist Dylan Alcott.
I feel good, I won, I could really feel like you guys have been on lockdown for two years, amazing atmosphere. Hopefully it will get louder for the next few matches. I am prepared that everyone will hate me after the match, hopefully I get a lot of boos (crowd boos and then cheers). I have said that since Covid started that sports needs the people and the atmosphere. Spectators bring the emotions, and it’s excellent we are going back to normal. My tactic today was to hit the ball as slow as possible but if you are saying I am hitting it harder i am happy with that. If I am hitting it hrader against Rafa then I am happy.
Zverev beats Milmann 6-4 6-4 6-0
A highly impressive win, and Zverev, if he can sort his serving, can go far in this tournament. The first point is an ace, but a failed drop shot takes it to 15-15, with Millman still motoring around the court. Then there’s a slight delay and the hint of a yip from Zverev with a double fault as he goes for it on his second serve. He rights himself, and gives himself a single match point, that a crushing serve takes. He’s dropped just eight games to reach the last 32. He’s on course to meet Nadal in the last eight.
Zverev takes just over a minute to win the next game, and he’s 4-0 up. He takes a bit longer for his next break, a triple break, no less, and it’s 5-0. Millman shows he is not yet beaten with a lovely save of the first break. No such luck on the second and Zverev will serve for the match.
Monfils doing Monfils things. He won the first set against Bublik 6-1.
Oh dear, feels like it’s slipping away for Millman and Zverev, for all those wobbles on his serve, looks strong, his winner to go to 15-40 and two break points up un-returnable. But there’s a dog in this fight yet, and Zverev overhits to cough up one of those points. The second sees no such mistake, he’s 3-0 and cruising to victory.
Even longer way back for Millman now, as he is broken in the first game of the third set. And then gets given a chasing by Zverev’s serve, and the lead is 2-0 up. The home fans are getting louder but their man is fading fast.
Zverev takes the second set 6-4. Millman holds his serve to go to 4-5 to great acclaim, and makes Zverev serve out for the set. The first serve is an unerring ace, the second point is taken by another. Millman’s fine, low return of service takes it to 30-15. But then it goes to two set points, claimed at the first time of asking by a serve, and then a brutal forehand to follow up Millman’s return. Long way back for the Australian.
Gael Monfils, the French 17th seed, has rushed into a 3-0 lead on Alexander Bublik, the Russian-Kazakhstani player, though has been sent tumbling on the court, though seemed to be unshaken by hitting the deck.
Millman holds his serve and sets about getting on to Zverev, who has to pull out the bombs to clatter into a 30-15 lead. Then Millman over-eggs a passing shot before another double fault creeps in as Zverev goes for broke on second serve. There are some cheers when he misses his next one, and then a slow serve hits the net. That’s the second game in a row he’s double-double faulted. But then some serve and volley, and a deft drop shot takes him into an advantage, and then Millman fluffs a backhand. 5-3 to the German, who is wobbly but has the juice to get out of trouble.
Zverev, at 3-2 up, has a few collywobbles with his serve, and two double faults present Millman with two break points. Then his serve gets him back out of trouble, crashing the ball for two aces that hand him advantage, that’s seven aces. And he wins the game with a thunderous ace that Millman can only reach with the edge of his racquet. 4-2, the danger closed off for now.
Maria Sakkari, Greece’s fifth-seed, is safely through, beating Chinese qualifier Qinwen Zheng 6-1 6-4.
Can’t disagree with the great man here, can you?
Zverev’s power takes him to an early break of Millman’s serve for 2-1, and a hold now would see him take significant grip on this match. He surges to 40-0 up, only for a looped backhand fade to stop him serving out. Then a double fault, nerves jangling? Nope, a crashing serve forces a Millman error and it’s 3-1.
Millman is not done, and holds his first service game. But then so does Zverev, as the home fans, getting raucous at this late hour, give it some noise. 1-1 in the second set.
Zverev takes the first set 6-4, some powerful serving getting the job done, even though Millman continues to buzz around the court with purpose.
Some Andy Murray quotes from his press call ahead of tomorrow’s match with Taro Daniel.
Obviously, in some of the matches that I have played I wouldn’t expect, even if I was playing at my peak, necessarily to win in straight sets. A match like (Basilashvili) against someone who is in the 20s in the world, it’s always going to be difficult. But obviously it would be nice to have some quicker ones. That’s where I have had this discussion with my team and we were talking about trying to shorten matches and ways to play quicker points. It’s difficult to get the balance because if, right now, I’m playing 20 in the world level tennis then, if I’m playing anyone that’s in the top 50, those matches are going to be very, very competitive and difficult to win. If you start trying to play a different style of tennis and try to shorten points and everything, and you maybe make a few more mistakes or maybe don’t break serve as much, that also can prolong matches, as well.
Playing my game style but playing it at a higher level, I think will give me the best chance of shortening matches. When I look back at a lot of my matches in 2015, 2016, I was quite efficient and clinical, when I had opportunities and when I was ahead of guys, I’d finish them off quickly. Right now, because I’m not quite playing at that level, the matches are maybe a little bit tighter. So, hopefully, if I can continue to improve my level, I’ll be able to shorten some of the matches.
5-3 up for Zverev means Millman must serve to stay in the first set, and he does so with a modicum of comfort, though his winner, down the line from somewhere upstate, is fortunate, to say the least.
Karen Khachanov, the very big-serving Russian, will face Rafa Nadal, after the 28th seed beat Benjamin Bonzi 6-4 6-0 7-5.Nadal has won all seven meetings with the 2018 Paris Masters winner.
The referee has been on the blower to complain about a random electric-sounding drone. “Turn it off,” he says. Meanwhile, Zverev and Millman are trading blows, and Millman faces down break points and deuce on his serve. Then Zverev is complaining about the random drone, and Millman holds on to his serve. It’s 4-3.
Zverev cruises to 30-0, with some expert serving, and then Millman misses a winner, just out to take it to 40-0. Hawkeye shows it on the margins but out, and Zverev goes to 4-2 up. A reminder on line calls at the Australian, per an ESPN piece from last year.
The tournament is relying solely on Hawk-Eye Live -- a complex vision system where computer-linked cameras are used to track the trajectory of a ball to determine whether it was in or out, as well as catching foot faults. There’s no one to argue with -- voices of some of Australia’s frontline medical workers are being used for the “out” and “fault” calls, which can be heard within venues and on the broadcast -- so players can no longer challenge calls. They can still request to view Hawk-Eye evidence of a call.
So that “out” call from a female voice in an heavy Australian accent is a nurse or medic? Excellent - ripper - and apologies if you, the reader, knew all this.
Millman looks to be enjoying himself, though this has already been a bruising match. Zverev wails in anguish as he misses a potential winner, and then another as he scoops the ball out of play and it’s 3-2.
Again, service is a continuing problem for both of them, though Zverev delivers a first ace to go 40-30 up. Then a low-slung effort sees Millman crash into the net. 3-1. There was a slight delay in that game when a spectator was asked to return the ball he had taken as a souvenir.
Neither player is comfortable on their serve, or more pertinently, both returning well. Zverev goes two break points up, and off a lucky net cord, Millman nets and it’s 2-1 to the German. Feels like these two are settling in for the long haul.
Millman gets some purchase on the Zverev serve, getting to 30-30 by hitting it early and then an early break point. The home crowd are on his side, and when Zverev’s first serve is missed the forehand return is excellent. 1-1. Let’s go Aussie indeed.
Zverev opens his account, on the Millman serve to go 1-0 up, starting with a lovely backhand lob to win the first point. The third point is an exceptionally long rally of 28 shots before Millman, tiredly, nets. Then Zverev blams a winner to take two break points, and clatters a backhand to break.
Isn’t he, pretty in pink? Zverev’s trainers are rather lovely, and look to these colour-blind eyes to be a shade of puce. He and Millman pose for photos with the German Olympic champion towering over the home hero.
Sacha Zverev is next on court in the Rod Laver, to take on the dangerous John Millman, who beat Feliciano Lopez in the first round. Millman is kept waiting for Zverev to show up. The German got fined for his late show for the first round but eventually appears, laden with drinks.
Naomi Osaka speaks to Jim Courier.
I returned pretty well, that’s not my usual stat but I have been working on it in the off-season. I’m a bit of a perfectionist so I am not trying to compare myself to my past, I am trying to take it one day at a time. I feel like the goal is for me is to have fun and I want to thank my team as we are accomplishing that.
Osaka beats Brengle 6-0 6-4
Brengle does 0-30 down, and then on her second serve, Osaka works her way to a forehand winner to take three match points. The first is claimed as Brengle chases the ball down and misses.
Tumaini Carayol saw Rafa Nadal’s win earlier today.
The Osaka serve recovers itself, and it’s back to 5-4 soon enough, and a break now will take her into the third round.
Osaka comes back out smoking, and then breaks back straight away for 4-4 with Brengle, a stooped volley at the net getting the job done.
Brengle is making such a better fist of the second set, going 3-0 up on the Osaka serve at 3-3, and to break point. Osaka, suddenly, looks a tad panicked and the errors are mounting up. The serve and the double-handed backhand deal her out of trouble, but then comes another error that sees her hit the net cord. Frustration is growing, and the serve is flagging; a double fault to hand over another break point, and then she misses a smash. It’s 4-3 to Brengle and suddenly she has her chance to take this set. Game on.
Hubert Hurkacz, the men’s tenth seed, is out, losing to French veteran Adrian Mannarino in three sets. Fourth women’s seed Barbora Krejcikova is meanwhile through into the third round with a 6-2 6-3 win over unseeded Wang Xiyu.
Someone famous is watching this one.
Brengle really has improved in this set, and it’s soon 2-2, and there’s a wobble on the Osaka serve, only for her power to deal her out of trouble as the match goes to 3-2.
Big smiles from Madison Brengle as she wins a game on her serve, there will be no double bagel. That’s the warmest applause of the evening. There’s been a marked improvement in her from the start of this set. On the Osaka serve, she wallops a lovely winner, and then smashes her way to two break points. Well well. Osaka saves the first with an ace, and then the second. “C’mon,” she says. But another break point comes on the Osaka serve, one swatted away with a forehand followup to a powerful serve. Then comes another “c’mon” with a killer forehand and then an ace. Mini crisis averted.
Osaka is taken to deuce and then makes a mess of a smash to win, hitting the ball off off the net cord, and there’s smiles, too. She’s enjoying herself. And she serves out from 0-30 down to win.
Some Emma Radacanu quotes after her win on Tuesday, with tributes paid to Greatest Living Scotsman Sir Andy Murray.
When I was in the third set I actually thought, ‘Andy was up a set then he got pushed to five but he fought back so hard and took the decider’, so, when I went to three, I was also thinking, ‘Actually, I can fight back and win, fight like he did’. I was definitely inspired by him. I’ve watched so many of Andy’s matches, all his finals here in Australia, but his match against Agut was some of the best fighting I’ve ever seen,” she said. “It’s great to have a role model like him leading British tennis.
Osaka takes the first set 6-0, and it’s looking rather ominous for Brengle. The defending champion hits 12 winners to get to set point before a smash goes wrong and it goes back to deuce. Brengle gives a glimpse of her ability to make an opponent work but succumbs to a whipped service return and then another error. Job done, and the next set looks like it will be very similar.
And with barely a keystroke, it’s 4-0 to Osaka. She’s playing excellent, brutal tennis. Getting to 5-0 takes a little more time but it’s served out with an ace, after just 14 minutes. She’s on course to get this done in 40 minutes.
Osaka really is making short work of Brengle, who seems to have few answers and is 3-0 down after eight minutes of the first set.
Osaka races to an early break of Brengle, a crashing forehand return taking the game. This could be a short assignment.
So then, the defending champion serves first, with some stats courtesy of the BBC. She’s won 23 of her past 24 matches at Australian Open, and lost just once in the Australian Open second round, back in 2017, and has a 56-15 record across all Grand Slams. With all that in mind, it’s little surprise that she wins the first game at a canter.
G’day, as Naomi Osaka and Madison Brengle take to the court, let’s run through our stories from today. The sound of the Weeknd is blarng loudly, in front of a limited crowd
Local (local as in Australian - he’s not from Melbourne, rather Sydney) talent Aleksandar Vukic, fresh from his opening round win over 30th seed Lloyd Harris, is deep in the second set in his match against Radu Albot. Vukic is looking to hit back after losing the opening set 6-4, and has just gone 6-5 ahead in the second. And with that it’s time to hand you over to John Brewin, who will guide you through the start of the evening session. Cheerio.
A big result over on Kia Arena as Belinda Bencic, the Swiss 22nd seed, is bounced out of the Open by American Amanda Anisimova 6-2, 7-5. Anisimova is in great form, but will face a huge test in a couple of days when she meets the winner of the upcoming clash between Naomi Osaka and Madison Brengle. That match is coming right up, about 20 minutes away from starting as the first match of the night session on Rod Laver Arena.
Miomir Kecmanović, the man who was meant to play Djokovic at the top of the men’s draw before his fellow Serb was deported, is making hay in his countryman’s absence. Kecmanović advanced to the third round earlier, with a straight-set win over Tommy Paul, and will play 25th seeded Lorenzo Sonego next. In reaching the third round, Kecmanović has ensured he will get a bumper pay day of at least $221,000. For the record, reaching the main draw gets a $103,000 reward, the second round $154,000. Progress to the fourth round nets a player $328,000, the quarters $538,500 and semis $895,000. After that it gets wild with the runner up receiving $1.575m and the winner a staggering $2.875m.
Sebastian Korda and Corentin Moutet have just brought an end to an absolute humdinger over on Court 8, four hours and 47 minutes after they started earlier today. Korda of the US, son of Czech former player Petr, emerges triumphant after five sets, 3-6, 6-4, 6-7(2), 7-5, 7-6 (10-6). Next up for him is 19th seed Pablo Carreno Busta.
Some food for thought here from Victoria Azarenka following her earlier win over Jil Teichmann. The former world No 1 and twice Australian Open champion is also now a WTA Tour players’ council member and was asked about the fallout from the saga of he whose name we must not mention. She said there would be legal issues around any proposal for vaccine mandates to be imposed on players for them to compete on the professional women’s circuit.
“I believe in science. I believe in getting vaccinated. That’s what I did for myself,” Azarenka said. “As an entity, as an association of WTA, that is travelling globally, we still have to respect countries, different countries, different mandates, different legalities of the country. Some countries will not allow mandates. I think to impose something legally on the WTA Tour can be a challenge. I think that’s something that we are facing.”
Azarenka said the Novak Djokovic saga could have been prevented with much clearer rules in place.
“I don’t believe there was anybody who looked good in any case. That became a bit of a circus,” she said. “I think there should be a really hard look on this situation moving forward. I think as soon as there is a grey area in the rules, that gives a bit too much questions, and situations like this happen. On certain things I think a black-and-white approach is necessary.”
Another result: seventh seed Matteo Berrettini overcame a second-set wobble to progress with a 6-1, 4-6, 6-4, 6-1 win over American Stefan Kozlov. The Italian will next play exciting youngster Carlos Alcaraz, who comfortably beat Dusan Lajovic 6-2, 6-1, 7-5. In doing so the 18-year-old has become the youngest man to reach the third round at the Australian Open since a certain Bernard Tomic back in 2011.
Day four order of play
Thursday’s schedule has landed - here’s how the show courts are lining up:
Rod Laver Arena
Alize Cornet (France) v 3-Garbine Muguruza (Spain)
Wang Xinyu (China) v 2-Aryna Sabalenka (Belarus)
Not before 2:30pm ADET/3:30am GMT
Kamil Majchrzak (Poland) v 32-Alex de Minaur (Australia)
Not before 7pm AEDT/8am GMT
Nick Kyrgios (Australia) v 2-Daniil Medvedev (Russia)
14-Simona Halep (Romania) v Beatriz Haddad Maia (Brazil)
Margaret Court Arena
6-Anett Kontaveit (Estonia) v Clara Tauson (Denmark)
Hailey Baptiste (United States) v Maddison Inglis (Australia)
Sebastian Baez (Argentina) v 4-Stefanos Tsitsipas (Greece)
Not before 7pm AEDT/8am GMT
Danka Kovinic (Montenegro) v 17-Emma Raducanu (Britain)
Steve Johnson (United States) v 11-Jannik Sinner (Italy)
John Cain Arena
7-Iga Swiatek (Poland) v Rebecca Peterson (Sweden)
Not before 1pm AEDT/2am GMT
Frances Tiafoe (United States) v 20-Taylor Fritz (United States)
Zhang Shuai (China) v 12-Elena Rybakina (Kazakhstan)
Not before 5:30pm AEDT/6:30am GMT
Andy Murray (Britain) v Taro Daniel (Japan)
Thanks Emma, hello again. Time for a recap of the biggest stories of the day so far?
- No worries for world No 1 Ash Barty in clinical sub-one hour win
- Rafael Nadal takes time but continues unbeaten start
- In-form Madison Keys staves off a late comeback attempt
- Victoria Azarenka and Paula Badosa first players into third round
I’m now going to hand you back to Mike Hytner, who will be with you until 7pm local, 8am GMT. Adieu.
Kokkinakis/Kyrgios have just served their way to first-round victory against Bolt/McCabe, finishing the match 6-4, 6-2 on Court 3. A few siuuus but nothing like at Kyrgios’s singles match last night. This will feel good for Kokkinakis, who suffered a disappointing first-round singles exit to Hanfmann on Monday straight off the back of winning the Adelaide International.
On Margaret Court, Shapovalov and Kwon are still slogging it out in what might be called the tie-break tussle – the score is currently 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 4-3 in favour of Shapovalov.
But there’s plenty happening on Court 3, where Kyrgios and Kokkinakis are leading Bolt and McCabe 6-4, 3-2 in front of a keen crowd.
That’s it on centre court until the evening session, when Japanese reigning champion Naomi Osaka will do battle with American Madison Brengle before Australian John Millman takes on German world No 3 Alexander Zverev.
Jim Courier is tying to suggest something about Nada’s biceps. Specifically, that they are large.
“What do you do to keep yourself at this level? What are the secrets to your fitness?” Courier asks.
“I play some golf,” Nadal says.
Courier presses him further about his injury issues and whether he has needed to spend more time in the gym than on the tennis court of late.
“Sometimes, I can do more one thing, sometimes the other,” Nadal says. “Unfortunately, I have been going through a lot of issues in my tennis career, so I need to be very flexible and adapt myself to what’s coming. And sometimes I am able to have some good practices on court, sometimes I am not able to do it that often so I have to work more on the gym ... but always holding the positive spirit.”
Nadal has this to say about the qualifier who gave such a good account of himself:
“I played against him, if I am not wrong, the first round of Roland Garros a couple of years ago. I know he’s dangerous. The result against Thanasi [Kokkinakis] in the first round here says that he was playing great, and coming from the qualis he was used to the courts.
“And he’s a player with big shots, good serve and with very high potential. I think today his level of tennis was much higher than what his ranking says, without a doubt. So I wish him all the very best. He’s a great guy.”
Nadal beats Hanfmann 6-2, 6-3, 6-4
It’s 15-15 and another 17 shots will be taken before Nadal takes a 30-15 lead. That was a pleasing rally. The Spaniard bounces the ball at the baseline, readying to serve under the sun. It’s an ace – his first of the match (and likely his last at this point). He has two match points but loses the first after catching the ball late on his frame. Hanfmann plays the second as if it’s his last, throwing the kitchen sink at his opponent and using his feet to get back into position time and again, until he catches his opponent out. Deuce. Nadal forces the error. Match point. He does it this time, and it’s all over red rover. Well, magenta in Nadal’s case.
Third set: Nadal* 6-2, 6-3, 5-4 Hanfmann (*denotes next server) The nerves must be peaking because Hanfmann is making needless errors. Can he come back from 0-30? He answers this question with an ace. He can’t repeat it though and Nadal has two match points to play with. A clever serve-volley rally gets rid of the first, and another very similar point brings him level at deuce. Another ace brings up the advantage and then he forces Nadal to return into the net. Hanfmann lives to fight another day. My remark about needless errors has aged well.
Third set: Nadal 6-2, 6-3, 5-3 Hanfmann* (*denotes next server) What a belter of a shot by Hanfmann! Nadal thinks he’s skewered him with a crosscourt forehand but the German takes that acute angle, matches it and then raises him one with a stretching backhand to kill. Nadal follows it with an unforced error and all of a sudden it’s 0-30. Could Hanfmann secure his first break? Apparently not. Nadal is soon back level at 30-30, and follows a powerful service point with another to bring him to 40-30. A baseline winner rounds out the game and his fourth consecutive point, which means Hanfmann is now serving to stay in this tournament.
Third set: Nadal* 6-2, 6-3, 4-3 Hanfmann (*denotes next server) Obviously, though, keeping his body right will be the top priority given the major disruptions to his playing and training with that foot injury and a bout of Covid-19. Hanfmann holds to love.
Third set: Nadal 6-2, 6-3, 4-2 Hanfmann* (*denotes next server) Nadal, if and when he wraps this up, will no doubt want to review this match before the third round on Friday. There have been moments of brilliance, but this also has not been a complete performance First
Third set: Nadal* 6-2, 6-3, 3-2 Hanfmann (*denotes next server) No sooner have I written that and Hanfmann has raced to 40-0. Minor glitch in his unanswered run when Nadal returns a winner down the line, then normal practice resumes with a Hanfmann ace for a comfortable hold.
Third set: Nadal 6-2, 6-3, 3-1 Hanfmann* (*denotes next server) Hanfmann is hanging in there. He’s won 13 points this set to Nadal’s 16. But the latter is utilising that ferocious backhand and he now has a comfortable cushion to close this out.
Third set: Nadal* 6-2, 6-3, 2-1 Hanfmann (*denotes next server) An early break! This could be the determinate factor in whether this is the deciding set. Hanfmann fights back from 0-40 but is struck down at 30-40. He slices forehand, slices backhand, keeps Rafa running. But Nadal is doing the same. They made 22 shots, and it ends with a low, hard, well-placed backhand and a return shot that lands out.
Third set: Nadal 6-2, 6-3, 1-1 Hanfmann* (*denotes next server) Nadal holds with more effort than he would have liked.
Third set: Nadal* 6-2, 6-3, 0-1 Hanfmann (*denotes next server) Nadal is back on the court, in a fresh kit, which is identical to the white-shorts-and-magenta-shirt combo he started in. He almost immediately racks up two break points before losing his ground to a deuce-and-advantage stoush. Eventually Hanfmann rips a crosscourt backhand that gives him an advantage he does not waste.
As Nadal is off changing his outfit Nick Kyrgios and Thanasi Kokkinakis are readying for an all-Australian doubles opener against James McCabe and Alex Bolt. They’ll be on Court 3, where Latvian Jelena Ostapenko is trying to close out the third set against American Alison Riske. Kyrgios won’t be feeling too tired after last night’s singles opener, which he breezed through in straight sets against British qualifier Liam Broady.
Second set: Nadal 6-2, 6-3 Hanfmann* (*denotes next server) Not many first serves are going in but second serves to out to be enough. A meek Hanfmann return gives Nadal three set points. He overcooks the first past the baseline, then loses the next to a superb Hanfmann inside-out backhand. 40-30. A longer rally ensues and Nadal catches the far line with a drop shot that Hanfmann scoops up and out. Set.
Second set: Nadal 6-2, 5-3 Hanfmann* (*denotes next server) Hanfmann doesn’t really need Nadal to put him under pressure. He is managing that all by himself. He’s resumed his centre-of-the-baseline service position now and throws away the first point. But he recovers with an aesthetically pleasing backhand winner and then an ace. 30-15. Another unforced error. 30-30. He sends down another of those aggressive top-spin shots but leaves himself open down his right. Surprise surprise, that’s where Nadal deposits his down-the-line forehand winner. Another of those and Nadal has broken. The first of this set, and at a convenient time too because now he is serving for the set.
Second set: Nadal 6-2, 4-3 Hanfmann* (*denotes next server) Nadal puts the pressure straight back on his opponent with another quickfire hold, losing only one point through a double-fault.
Second set: Nadal* 6-2, 3-3 Hanfmann (*denotes next server) In second-round matches at the Australian Open – and there have been 16 of them – Nadal has never dropped a set. This does not bode well for Hanfmann, who is serving with the wind behind his back now. He’s serving way out wide. Is he playing doubles? A few errors are creeping into his game now and he’ll have to watch that, but he does hold here. Nadal has had break point in every one of Hanfmann’s services games this set but not managed to convert one yet. He fails again here in a game that twice goes to deuce.
Second set: Nadal 6-2, 3-2 Hanfmann* (*denotes next server) This game is far more routine for the world No 5, who hits cleanly and brutally and needs very few shots over three points to hold serve. Get it done, move on.
Second set: Nadal* 6-2, 2-2 Hanfmann (*denotes next server) Hanfmann has the wind against him and one can only imagine how that must feel, having to put extra muscle into every shot delivered back to him with interest. Still he is serving well and, down the advantage, pounces on Nadal’s return. Runs right around it to take it on his forehand and gives the Spaniard no chance. The advantage is soon his after a quite spectacular winner down the line. Rafa was clearly not thinking he would land that. He holds.
Second set: Nadal 6-2, 2-1 Hanfmann* (*denotes next server) Nadal holds. Not without a deuce-flavoured bump along the way, but his leg-generated power is something to behold. This is a match of groundstrokes and tactics, not a big-serving encounter. Only one ace thus far (Hanfmann). Nadal has the upper hand but they are not as unevenly matched as the German qualifier’s resume might suggest.
Second set: Nadal* 6-2, 1-1 Hanfmann (*denotes next server) Back on centre court, Hanfmann is down a break point and the pair are trading baseline blows in what is turning into an extraordinarily long rally. Hanfmann finally makes his move and Nadal thinks this lob is going out. He must do because he’s not chasing it and he probably could. It sails over his head in practically slow motion before landing in. Danger averted. He takes the advantage, in this time he approaches the net, all six foot four of him, volleys back at Rafa and then ensures the next one is out of reach.
Over on Margaret Court Arena, Denis Shapovalov is leading Kwon Soon-woo 7-6(8-6), 3-2 and at John Cain Arena Matteo ‘The Hammer’ Berrettini is warming up against Stefan Kozlov.
First set: Nadal 6-2 Hanfmann* (*denotes next server) Hanfmann, serving to stay in the set, has his head just about above water but is sinking. Nadal has him at 30-40, then deuce, and then another break and set point. At which point Rafa sends down one of those discombobulating backhands that closes out the set.
First set: Nadal 5-2 Hanfmann* (*denotes next server) Nadal is not setting the world alight in his own service game though, struggling to get a handle on rallies and finds himself down a break point at 30-40. Hanfmann is helped by the net on one shot but that same net becomes his undoing on the next, as he mismanages Nadal’s slice. Another unforced error later and Nadal is sending down a winner to hold serve.
Here’s a wee Barty recap:
First set: Nadal* 4-2 Hanfmann (*denotes next server) Nadal has a habit of breaking serve when he wins the opening point of his opponent’s service game. Tends to turn the screw a little more. It comes to pass. A crosscourt backhand draws Hanfmann to his right and forward. As he bands and stretches he can’t quite get enough purchase on his shot and it plays right into the hands of Nadal, who deposits a backhand down Hanfmann’s left-hand line to make it 15-40. Another forehand winner later and he wins the game.
First set: Nadal 3-2 Hanfmann* (*denotes next server) Bravo! What a rally. What a shot. The pair trade blows before Nadal gets under the ball and whips a precise forehand so low it almost kisses the net and drops into the far service square out of reach. This might have set the tone for the game but Hanfmann clearly has a game plan, and is sticking to it, using his backhand to set up his points, running the Spaniard around the baseline, forcing him to pop up a sitter and coming forward for to put it away. He has the advantage and break point now, too, though it’s short-lived as Nadal saves his own skin and then, himself on the advantage, dispatches an ungettable pile-driver into the back corner.
First set: Nadal* 2-2 Hanfmann (*denotes next server) Hello! Well Hanfmann is speeding out to 4o-0 but he can’t quite finish the job because Rafa has other ideas. The German, now at 40-30, is forced to get on the defence and force his opponent into an error. Which he does.
First set: Nadal 2-1 Hanfmann* (*denotes next server) Nadal is pushed here, he’s 15-30 down when Hanfmann passes up a golden chance to force break point, hitting the net with an open court to aim at on the volley. The German is made to rue that miss, and Nadal doesn’t err again. The Spanish sixth seed holds, and we’re still on serve. And with that I’ll hand over to Emma Kemp, who is at Melbourne Park, to take you through the next while.
First set: *Nadal 1-1 Hanfmann (*denotes next server) So, what has Hanfmann, a big server, got with the ball in hand? Nice work on the opening point, as he gets Nadal running around the baseline before wrongfooting him. We then see an example of the damage his serve can do, a booming unreturnable effort, but he allows Nadal back into the game at deuce. Hanfmann is able to hold though, with Nadal’s attempted drop shot on game point for the German coming up just short. One apiece.
First set: Nadal 1-0 Hanfmann* (*denotes next server) Nadal, in his startling purple shirt with white trim, has few issues in the opener. He reaches at the net to play a hyper-extended volley mid-way through this game, eliciting applause from the stands, and otherwise looks comfortable as he opens up a one-game lead.
Nadal and Hanfmann are ready to get going. Nadal is bouncing around the baseline, as is his way, before he settles into his service stance. The Spaniard will serve first.
Rafael Nadal is next up on Rod Laver Arena, against the German qualifier Yannick Hanfmann. Don’t go anywhere.
Earlier, 15th seed Elina Svitolina advanced after Harmony Tan had to leave the court in a wheelchair due to a knee injury sustained when trailing 6-3, 5-7, 5-1.
Another Italian, Camila Giorgi, lies in wait for Barty after the 30th seed’s earlier straight win over Tereza Martincova.
“She’s an incredible ballstriker one of the most athletic girls out here. Not afraid to stand on the baseline and put you under time pressure from the first strike. I will have to are have my running shoes on get the backhand slice out and bring in variation and see how it goes.”
And with that, the world No 1 departs.
Of course it’s the Australian Open’s inaugural First Nations Day today, and Barty is asked about her connection to Indigenous tennis icon Evonne Goolagong Cawley.
“She’s an incredible human being. I’m extremely lucky to call her a friend and know she’s only a phonecall away. The universe is not far away. We have special anniversaries. We’re connected through our heritage. She’s an incredible woman and paved a path and been able to guide so many of the Indigenous youth coming up in the last however many years throughout her work off the court. I love her to death.”
Here’s the royal “we”, so often used by Barty in acknowledgement and appreciation of her team.
“We are exactly where we are. I felt like we had a good preparation in Adelaide. We played well, played throughout tough matches. Craig Tyzzer is the master. He’s good in the business and spoilt to have him in my team. Grateful he has the tactical knowledge communication and the way we talk to each other is incredible. He’s going to love he’s on the big screen. I feel like our whole team works extremely well together. We’re enjoying our tennis and being able to produce some pretty good stuff.”
Casey Delacqua is speaking on court with Barty. She’s asked about the crowd first up.
“Yeah, it was absolutely incredible. She said to me at the net it was a lot of fun out here and enjoyed the experience. You guys have got so much to do with that. Thank you from both of us and genuinely we loved it out here.”
Barty beats Bronzetti 6-1, 6-1
Barty’s forehand is in full effect to draw level at 15-15, and then again to bring up two match points soon after. She completes victory in 52 minutes - that’s just 106 minutes she has spent on court in total across her opening two matches!
Second set: Barty 6-1, 5-1 Bronzetti* (*denotes next server) Barty throws down a couple of aces but slips up on game point with a loose forehand that lands out. A third ace - her eighth of the day - helps get her back on track, and she’s now just a game away from a place in the third round.
Second set: *Barty 6-1, 4-1 Bronzetti (*denotes next server) Bronzetti can count herself unlucky with a net cord that doesn’t help her midway through her service game, and Barty is so ruthless, she takes full advantage. Another break, another game for Barty, and another step closer to victory. They’ve been playing for just 45 minutes.
Second set: Barty 6-1, 3-1 Bronzetti* (*denotes next server) A place in the third round mustn’t be too far away for Barty. Another comfortable service game for the Queenslander, who is in complete control here.
Second set: *Barty 6-1, 2-1 Bronzetti (*denotes next server) Ah, Bronzetti is broken again, to love, a double fault sealing her fate as the relentless pressure put on her by Barty tells. Unfortunate that the Italian was unable to build on that encouraging opening service game of the second set.
Second set: Barty 6-1, 1-1 Bronzetti* (*denotes next server) The TV shows a super slo-mo replay of a Barty overhead and really it’s a thing of beauty. Such poise but also power. Magnificent. The Australian holds again.
Second set: *Barty 6-1, 0-1 Bronzetti (*denotes next server) Thanks for that Emma, our woman on the ground at Melbourne Park for the next two weeks or so, of course. Bronzetti shows what she’s capable of again now, forcing Barty back on her heels before finishing off with a powerful forehand winner to open up a 30-0 lead. That’s the pick of the points as the Italian gets on the board at the earliest possible opportunity.
It’s all very civilised here at Melbourne Park, certainly in comparison to yesterday, when the boisterous crowds had a field day. Those with ground passes are milling about and watching Barty’s match on the big screen. It is noticeably hotter than the past couple of days, and the wind has picked up a bit. Both of these elements must be being felt on centre court, though Barty of course appears far less troubled than her opponent.
First set: Barty 6-1 Bronzetti* (*denotes next server) Barty makes a move towards the net to finish off a with a forehand volley to get up and running as she serves for the set. She follows that up with a delightful drop shot that Bronzetti can only return into the net before bringing up three set points. A double fault blots her copybook slightly but that only delays the inevitable by a moment. Barty races to the opening set in just 26 minutes.
First set: *Barty 5-1 Bronzetti (*denotes next server) Again, Bronzetti doesn’t reach a Barty forehand, but she displays a marked improvement from thereon in, playing a couple of nicely constructed points before getting on board with an ace!
First set: Barty 5-0 Bronzetti* (*denotes next server) Barty sends down another ace on her way to a five-game lead, sealing the game with a whipped forehand winner that Bronzetti has absolutely no answer to. Pretty one-side stuff out there at the moment.
First set: *Barty 4-0 Bronzetti (*denotes next server) Barty’s looking unassailable - she moves to 40-0 baring breaking sweat as Bronzetti struggles to keep pace. The Italian is broken again, and this first set is now appearing to be a formality.
First set: Barty 3-0 Bronzetti* (*denotes next server) Barty consolidates that break, but again she’s taken to deuce. And she very nearly faces a break point as Bronzetti does extremely well during a 19-shot rally, before she eventually succumbs, unable to keep a deep return from Barty in.
The crowd is sparse in the Rod Laver Arena stands, and noise from them has been limited so far. All very genteel. We’re yet to hear any incidences of the latest fad spreading across Melbourne Park, the only benefit of which may be that it silences the tedious “Aussie, oi” shout.
First set: *Barty 2-0 Bronzetti (*denotes next server) Very comfortable for Barty so far, as the world’s top-ranked player opens up her forehand to take a 30-0 lead before going on to break following a Bronzetti double fault.
First set: Barty 1-0 Bronzetti* (*denotes next server) Barty is coming off the back of an entirely comfortable 6-0, 6-1 win over Lesia Tsurenko in the opening round but she doesn’t have it all her own way in the opening game here as the pair acquaint themselves. Bronzetti forces a deuce, but Barty emerges unscathed and seals her first service game with the first ace of the day.
Barty will serve first. Here we go. Play.
Here comes Barty, out into the sunshine bathing Rod Laver Arena. We’ll be under way in her second round match against the qualifier Lucia Bronzetti, currently ranked exactly 142 places behind the world No 1. Bronzetti finds herself in the second round of the Australian Open after a three-set victory of Russia’s Varvara Gracheva in the opening round on Monday. The 23-year-old from Rimini, who is yet to win a title on the WTA Tour, clearly faces a huge test today.
Weather update: because who doesn’t enjoy at weather updates, especially when it’s as lovely as it is in Melbourne today? It’s a warm day with the mercury expected to a top of 28C.
Play started about an hour and half ago, with two singles matches are already done and dusted - Vika Azarenka has advanced with a straight forward 6-1, 6-2 win over Jil Teichmann, while no 8 seed Paula Badosa was equally efficient in her 6-0, 6-3 victory over Martina Trevisan on Rod Laver Arena, to reach the Australian Open third round for the first time.
Welcome all and sundry to day three of grand slam tennis action at Melbourne Park. Another busy day ahead as the second round gets under way, with plenty to look forward to.
We’ll get further looks at the women’s No 1 Ash Barty and grand slam record-chaser Rafa Nadal, with the former up next on Rod Laver Arena and the latter immediately afterwards.
The evening session is highlighted by Naomi Osaka, who appears to have rediscovered her love of the game, before a potential ripsnorter between men’s No 3 Alex Zverev and Australian John Millman.
In amongst all that, the likes of big names Denis Shapovalov, Barbora Krejcikova, Maria Sakkari and Matteo Berrettini are also all on court throughout the day.