MELBOURNE — Defending champion Novak Djokovic dispatched Japanese wildcard Tatsuma Ito 6-1, 6-4, 6-2 to reach the third round of the Australian Open on Wednesday.
The world number two Serb, who struggled through a four-set grind against unseeded German Jan-Lennard Struff in his opener, was back to his imperious best as he fired down 16 aces and racked up 31 winners at a gusty Rod Laver Arena.
Chasing a record-extending eighth title at Melbourne Park, Djokovic finished off with a slew of thumping serves, sealing the match when a scrambling Ito thudded a shot into the net.
Djokovic will meet another Japanese player in Yoshihito Nishioka, who knocked out British 30th seed Dan Evans in straight sets, for a place in the fourth round.
TSITSIPAS THROUGH TO THIRD ROUND
Sixth seed Stefanos Tsitsipas has advanced to the third round of the Australian Open after his German opponent Philipp Kohlschreiber withdrew due to injury, organizers said on Wednesday.
ATP Finals champion Tsitsipas, 21, will meet either Canadian 32nd seed Milos Raonic or Cristian Garin of Chile in the third round, having never faced either opponent before.
“Unfortunately Philipp Kohlschreiber has withdrawn from his #AusOpen match vs Stefanos Tsitsipas due to a muscle strain,” the Australian Open said on Twitter.
Tsitsipas, who last year defeated Roger Federer on his way to the Melbourne Park semifinals, had won both his previous meetings against world No. 79 Kohlschreiber.
The Greek is rated by many as the most likely to break the three-year grip Rafa Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Federer have held on the Grand Slam titles.
WOZNIACKI RALLIES TO TAME YASTREMSKA
Caroline Wozniacki refused to be rushed into retirement on Wednesday as the former world number one fought back from 5-1 down in the first set to beat Ukraine’s Dayana Yastremska 7-5 7-5 in the second round of the Australian Open.
The Dane had appeared set for an early exit at Melbourne Park, the scene of her only Grand Slam triumph in 2018, but rallied to win six games in a row against the 19-year-old in the opening set.
Wozniacki, who is hanging up her racket after the tournament, made up for her lack of firepower with her trademark defensive skills, forcing the aggressive Yastremska into a series of errors.
She found herself 3-0 down in the second set too but again rallied before converting her sixth match point to seal the win over 23rd seed Yastremska.
Wozniacki will face Ons Jabeur in the next round after the Tunisian beat Caroline Garcia of France 1-6, 6-2, 6-3. — Reuters