Australian Open 2017: Day 3 Review

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On a day when most of the fancied players had a much easier second round outing, the Italian Andreas Seppi who had upset Roger Federer in the third round two years ago, once again played the giant killer role with a five set upset of the local favourite 14th seeded Nick Kyrgios of Australia. The 32 year old Seppi came back all the way from two sets behind to beat the 14th Canberra native Kyrgios, 1-6, 6-7(1), 6-4, 6-2, 10-8 in three hours and eight minutes on Hisense Arena.

The temperamental Australian, who is the highest ranked Australian, erased all four break points in the first set and then looked to be in command after taking the second in a tie-break. That is when the 85th ranked Italian launched his comeback to claim the next two sets and forced a decider. Seppi failed to serve out the match at 6-5 in the fifth set, but was not to be denied in the eighteenth game of the decider which he eventually won 10-8.

There was some consolation for the home crowd as the 27th seeded Bernard Tomic saw off the spirited challenge of 36 year old Victor Estrella Burgos of the Dominican Republic as he won the final match of the day on Margaret Court Arena 7-5, 7-6(4), 4-6, 7-6(5). Tomic’s draw has opened up a bit after the in form Briton Daniel Evans, who was the beaten finalist last week in Sydney (loss to Giles Muller), upset the 2014 U.S. Open Marin Cilic of Croatia, seeded seventh, 3-6, 7-5, 6-3, 6-3.

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There were straight sets wins for the top ranked Andy Murray, the fourth seeded Stanislas Wawrinka of Switzerland and fifth seeded Kei Nishikori of Japan, both of whom had five set wins in the first round. Also winning in straight sets were the Americans Sam Querrey and Jack Sock, the four time former champion Roger Federer of Switzerland, Tomas Berdych of the Czech Republic and the Frenchman Jo Wilfred Tsonga.

Murray beat the Russian Andrey Rublev dropping just five games on Rod Laver Arena. Earlier in the day Roger Federer had a difficult outing against the former junior Wimbledon champion Noah Rubin 7-5, 6-3, 7-6(3). The 20 year old Rubin failed to serve out the third set at 5-3 against the vastly experienced 35 year old Swiss who is going for his 18th grand slam title.

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John Isner who holds the record for the longest five set match win in the Open Era, squandered a two set lead to the 29 year old German Mischa Zverev. In a match lasting four hours and ten minutes, the 50th ranked German beat the 19th ranked American, in extra-time, 6-7(4), 6-7(4), 6-4, 7-6(7), 9-7. The match ended in dramatic fashion as the American known for his big serving dropped the sixteenth game to love. Zverev saved a match point in the fourth set tie-break but kept his composure despite 33 aces from the American number one.

Other winners on day 3 were the 29th seeded Victor Troicki of Serbia who beat another Italian Paolo Lorenzi in five sets 6-3, 1-6, 7-6(3), 3-6, 6-3. The match lasted three hours and forty seven minutes as the 35 year old Lorenzo, ranked 41st in the world lost steam in the decider against the 30 year old Troicki.

Malek Jaziri of Tunisia ended the hopes of Alexander Bublik of Kazakhstan in straight sets. The 19 year old Bublik who came through the qualifiers and also upset the 16th seeded Frenchman Lucas Pouille in the first round lost 2-6, 3-6, 5-7. There were four set wins for Lucas Lacko of Slovakia over Dudi Sela of Israel, and for the veteran Steve Darcis over the Argentine Diego Schwartzman.

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Following is the list of matches on Day 4 in the bottom half of the draw with my pick mentioned first:-

Novak Djokovic (2) v. Denis Istomin
Kyle Edmund v. Pablo Carreno Busta (30)
Richard Gasquet (18) v. Carlos Berlocq
Grigor Dmitrov (15) v. Hyeon Chung
David Goffin (11) v. Radek Stepanek
Ivo Karlovic (20) v. Andrew Whittington
Fabio Fognini v. Benoit Paire
Dominic Thiem (8) v. Jordan Thompson
Milos Raonic (3) v. Gilles Muller
Gilles Simon (25) v. Rogerio Dutra Silva
David Ferrer (21) v. Ernesto Escobedo
Roberto Bautista Agut (13) v. Yoshihito Nishioka
Rafael Nadal (9) v. Marcos Baghdatis
Alexander Zverev (24) v. Frances Tiafoe
Donald Young v. Phillip Kohlschreiber (32)
Gael Monfils (6) v. Alexandr Dolgopolov

For the second match in succession the defending women’s champion and World No.1 Angelique Kerber of Germany dropped a set before ending the hopes of compatriot Carina Witthoeft 6-2, 6-7(3), 6-2. No such problems for the reigning French Open champion Garbine Muguruza of Spain who beat the American Samantha Crawford 7-5, 6-4, the two time major winner Svetlana Kuznetsova of Russia who dropped only three games to the local hope Jaimee Fourlis and for the seven time grand slam champion Venus Williams who beat the Swiss Stefanie Voegele dropping only five games.

Others to advance into the third round were the Romanian Sorana Cirstea who upset the 10th seeded Carla Suarez Navarro, Canada’s Eugenie Bouchard, the Americans Coco Vandeweghe and Alison Riske, the Latvian Anastasija Sevastova, Ying-Ying Dan of China, Kristyna Pliskova of the Czech Republic, Ashley Barty of Australia, the German Mona Barthel who upset the Olympic gold medallist Monica Puig of Puerto Rico, Elina Svitolina of Ukraine, Jelena Jankovic of Serbia and the Russian Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova.

– Rasesh Mehta [Rasesh Mehta is an analyst with the Tennis Galaxy. You can reach him at the email: sportzcosmos@gmail.com]

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