MELBOURNE (Reuters) - Australian Open contenders Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer recorded impressive wins to reach the third round at Melbourne Park on Tuesday.
Defending champion Djokovic made quick work of Japan’s Tatsuma Ito with a comfortable 6-1 6-4 6-2 victory, while 20-times Grand Slam winner Federer beat Filip Krajinovic of Serbia 6-1 6-4 6-1.
Federer came into the year’s first Grand Slam without playing any warm-up events but has dropped only 13 games in two matches to reach the third round for the 21st consecutive year.
In the women’s draw, Serena Williams, who is bidding for a record-equalling 24th Grand Slam singles title, eased past Slovenian Tamara Zidansek 6-2 6-3.
American teenage sensation Coco Gauff rallied from a set down to beat Sorana Cirstea 4-6 6-3 7-5 in a thrilling encounter.
The 15-year-old Gauff, who beat seven-time Grand Slam champion Venus Williams in the opening round, will face defending champion Naomi Osaka in the last 32.
Highlights of the third day at the Australian Open, the first Grand Slam tournament of the year, on Wednesday (times AEST; GMT+11):
Italy’s Fabio Fognini, seeded 12th, was pushed to five sets for the second straight match as he overcame home favourite Jordan Thompson 7-6(4) 6-1 3-6 4-6 7-6(4) in a match lasting four hours and five minutes.
Third seed Roger Federer, chasing a record-extending 21st Grand Slam title, has reached the third round at Melbourne Park for the 21st straight year with a 6-1 6-4 6-1 victory over Serbia’s Filip Krajinovic.
Serena Williams stayed on course for a record-equalling 24th Grand Slam singles crown with a 6-2 6-3 win over Slovenian world number 70 Tamara Zidansek in their first career meeting.
Williams, a seven-times Australian Open winner, fired seven aces and 25 winners to prevail in 78 minutes and will take on China’s 27th seed Wang Qiang next.
Unseeded American Tommy Paul ended Bulgarian 18th seed Grigor Dimitrov’s hopes of capturing his first Grand Slam title as the world number 80 won 6-4 7-6(6) 3-6 6-7(3) 7-6(3) in four hours and 19 minutes.
Novak Djokovic was in a relaxed mood following his win over Tatsuma Ito, talking about his off-season trip to the Indonesian island of Bali where the Serb was left particularly impressed by a local school.
“What got me to go there with my wife is a green school in Bali, a unique concept of education. That was interesting to us,” Djokovic told reporters.
“For the last couple years, we’ve known about the concept. We’ve been introduced to it by our friends who have their kid in the school in Bali... we might have our children actually attend that concept in the near future.”
1732 WOZNIACKI HAS SPECIAL MEMORIES OF ‘SWEET CAROLINE’
Caroline Wozniacki, who fought back to beat Ukraine’s Dayana Yastremska, recalled her finest moment in Melbourne when she captured her only Grand Slam title and Neil Diamond’s ‘Sweet Caroline’ filled the air following her triumph.
“I don’t know if I can count how many times I’ve heard that song. It’s a special song for me, especially here,” the Dane, who will retire after the tournament, told reporters.
“It’s a great memory. It means a lot after great wins like this that it gets played.”
Two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova fired seven aces and 31 winners in a tight 7-5 7-5 victory over Spain’s Paula Badosa in their first career meeting.
1257 CATCHING BARTY IS NOT OSAKA’S IMMEDIATE PRIORITY
Defending champion Naomi Osaka said after her win over Zheng Saisai that she was not giving too much thought to reclaiming the world number one ranking, with top-ranked Ash Barty well in front of the Japanese third seed.
“Ash is like 2,000 points ahead of me and I have to defend this, I’m like yo, I’m going to drop out of the top 10 for real,” the 22-year-old said.
Defending champion Naomi Osaka fended off a strong comeback attempt from China’s Zheng Saisai, rallying from 4-2 down in the second set to prevail 6-2 6-4 and reach the third round.
The temperature is forecast to reach 32 degrees Celsius (90F) before a late cool change brings rain.
Compiled by Ian Ransom, Shrivathsa Sridhar and Hardik Vyas; Editing by Peter Rutherford, Kim Coghill and Alex Richardson