After the early exit of the 2009 champion Rafael Nadal on day two, sanity was restored as all the seeded players advanced into the third round of the Australian Open 2016 at the Flinder’s Park in Melbourne. As expected Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer, Kei Nishikori and Tomas Berdych swept past their opponents in straight sets as did the 2008 runner up Jo-Wilfred Tsonga and Pierre-Hugues Herbert of France, 2014 U.S. Open champion Marin Cilic of Croatia, local lad Nick Kyrgios, the Italian Andreas Seppi who beat Roger Federer in the third round last year and the Austrian teenager Dominic Thiem.
Roger Federer inched closer to the milestone of 300 match wins in majors as he produced 39 winners. He took only 92 minutes to see off the dangerous Ukrainian Alexandr Dolgopolov 6-3,7-5,6-1 on the Rod Laver Arena. The 35th ranked Dlogopolov, nicknamed ‘The Dog’ due to his flashy brand of tennis only briefly looked like troubling the four time champion, who next faces the Bulgarian Grigor Dmitrov known as ‘Baby Federer’ due to the striking resemblance with Federer’s style of tennis.
The 27th seed Dmitrov took four sets to oust the Argentine Marco Trungelliti 6-3,4-6,6-2,7-5. In the night session five time champion Novak Djokovic was ruthless in his demolition of Quentin Halys of France 6-1,6-2,7-6(3) to set up a third round clash with the Italian Andreas Seppi who too had little difficulty in beating the American Denis Kudla 7-5,6-4,6-4.
Seventh seeded Kei Nishikori was impressive in his 6-3,7-6(5),6-3 defeat of the left handed American Austin Krajicek, while sixth seeded Berdych decimated the qualifier Mirza Basic of Bosnia-Herzegovina 6-4,6-0,6-3. Basic’s compatriot Damir Dzumhur was also eliminated by the fifteenth seeded Belgian David Goffin in four sets. Also winning in four sets was the Spaniard Guillermo Garcia-Lopez.
The remaining three players to advance into the round of 32 were the Frenchman Giles Simon who beat the Russian Evgeny Donskoy, the Spaniard Roberto Bautista Agut who also took five sets in the first round beat the Serbian Dusan Lajovic while in an All Argentine encounter the left handed Federico Delbonis prevailed over Renzo Olivo.
The following is the list of matches to be played in the bottom half of the men’s draw on Day Four with my pick mentioned first :-
Andy Murray (2) v. Sam Groth
Joao Souza (32) v. Santiago Giraldo
Giles Muller v. John Millman
Bernard Tomic (16) v. Simone Bolelli
John Isner (10) v. Marcel Granollers
Feliciano Lopez (18) v. Guido Pella
Steve Johnson(31) v. Thomaz Belluci
David Ferrer (8) v. Lleyton Hewitt
Stanislas Wawrinka (4) v. Radek Stepanek
Jack Sock (25) v. Lucas Rosol
Victor Troicki (21) v. Tim Smyczek
Milos Raonic (13) v. Tommy Robredo
Rajeev Ram v. Stephanie Robert
Gael Monfils (23) v. Nicholas Mahut
Jeremy Chardy (30) v. Andrey Kuznetsov
Fernando Verdasco v. Dudi Sela
In the ladies section the 2011 and 2013 Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova was upset by the little known 21 year old Australian Daria Gavrilova 4-6,4-6 while the 2004 U.S. Open and 2009 French Open champion Svetlana Kuznetsova was beaten by the Ukrainian Kateryna Bondarenko 1-6,5-7 as the last years finalists Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova just dropped three games each to advance to the round of 32. Other seeds to advance in straight sets are the Swiss Belinda Bencic, Piland’s Agnieska Radwanska, Roberta Vinci of Italy the Frenchwoman Kristina Mladenovic.
Spanish tenth seeded Carla Suarez Navarro took three sets to beat Maria Sakkari of Greece. Also winning in three sets were the Russian Elizaveta Kulichkova and the Puerto Rican Monica Puig who beat Kristyna Pliskova 9-7 in the third set. Other winners were little known Russians Daria Kastkina and Margarita Gasparyan, Kazakhstan’s Yulia Putintseva and the German Anna-Lena Friedsam; all winning in straight sets. The American Lauren Davis one the first set tie-break when Magdalena Rybarikova of Slovakia conceded the match.
– Rasesh Mehta [Rasesh Mehta is an analyst with the Tennis Galaxy. You can reach him at the email: firstname.lastname@example.org]