Tennis·Roundup

Defending champ Osaka to meet 15-year-old Gauff in 3rd round of Australian Open

Defending champion Naomi Osaka overcame swirling winds on Margaret Court Arena to beat Zheng Saisai 6-2, 6-4 and advance to the third round.

2019 runner-up Kvitova, Australian Barty, retiring Wozniacki also win

Naomi Osaka of Japan plays a backhand during her women's singles second round victory over Saisai Zheng of China on Tuesday. Osaka, the competition's defending champion, won 6-2, 6-4. (Quinn Rooney/Getty Images)

Defending champion Naomi Osaka threw her racket, tossed a ball and kicked the racket again for good measure, before sitting for a while with a towel over her head. She sensed the crowd was looking for drama, and she gave them a little bit.

She pulled it together quickly in a swirling breeze on Margaret Court Arena, though, and beat Zheng Saisai 6-2, 6-4 to advance to the third round of the Australian Open.

On the adjoining show court at about the same time, 2019 runner-up Petra Kvitova held her composure when she faced three set points before winning 13 of the next 15 points to beat Paula Badosa 7-5, 7-5.

Both of last year's finalists had secured spots in the third round before some of the women hadn't completed their first-round matches in the singles draw. A backlog caused by heavy rain on Day 1, caused a further spillover on Day 2.

WATCH | Osaka downs Saisai:

Naomi Osaka cruised past Saisai Zheng in straight sets on Wednesday at the Australian Open. 0:44

On Day 3, the lineup on the show courts was full of major winners. French Open champion and No. 1-seeded Ash Barty beat Polona Hercog 6-1, 6-4 in the second match on Rod Laver Arena.

Osaka's next opponent will be 15-year-old American Coco Gauff, who beat Sorana Cirstea 4-6, 6-3, 7-5 to set up the third-round showdown.

Gauff rallied after losing the first set and got the pivotal service break in the next-to-last game before serving out against 29-year-old Cirstea, who is playing at the Australian Open for a 12th time.

Gauff started the tournament with her second first-round win over Venus Williams in three majors, following her upset over the seven-time Grand Slam champion at last year's Wimbledon.

Gauff reached the fourth round on her Wimbledon debut and the third round at the U.S. Open.

Osaka was unimpressed with her own performance.

"I hope you guys like the tennis that's coming after my match," third-seeded Osaka told the crowd in an on-court interview, "because it wasn't that pretty."

Osaka picks up a moth from the court mid-match. (Andy Brownbill/The Associated Press)

She had her service broken three times, including the one in the second set that caused a minor tantrum.

"I got really fired up when she was up... and people started clapping more," Osaka said. Asked what the crowd was clapping for, she said: "For the drama. I was complaining here, I was almost throwing my racket over there."

Osaka won back-to-back majors at the U.S. Open in 2018 and Australia last year. She was unable to successfully defend her U.S. title, and is using that as a learning experience here to counteract any nerves.

"I got that all out during the U.S. Open. Coming here, I think about it as a new tournament," she said. "The only thing that has changed is maybe people want to beat me more."

'Relaxed' Federer extends 3rd-round streak

Roger Federer reached the third round for the 21st time in a row — that's every year since his tournament debut in 2000 — by beating Filip Krajinovic 6-1, 6-4, 6-1.

The 20-time major champion has won the title in Australia six times and showed why against the 41st-ranked Krajinovic, winning in one hour 32 minutes.

"I'm feeling really relaxed on court," the 38-year-old Federer said. "I'm happy. I'm still going, and looking forward to the next one, of course."

"It wasn't 100 per cent fair he played 3 1/2 hours yesterday and I played zero," Federer said. "Yeah, I do feel a little sorry … but you've got to take advantage of it, I guess."

Federer will next play John Millman, the Australian who produced an upset win over him at the 2018 U.S. Open.

Serena Williams moves on

Serena Williams moved a step closer in her bid for a record 24th major title with a 6-2, 6-3 win over Tamara Zidansek to reach the third round.

Williams won the last of her seven Australian Open titles in 2017, but hasn't added a major championship since then. She took time off the tour to have her daughter, Olympia, and has lost four Grand Slam finals in the last two seasons. Her title in Auckland, New Zealand recently was her first at tour-level in almost three years.

The 38-year-old Williams dominated in the first set but was slowed down slightly in the second, when the roof was closed because of rain, and the 70th-ranked Zidansek saved the first seven break-point chances she faced.

Djokovic cruises

Seven-time champion Novak Djokovic avoided the same mistake he made three years go when he met a wild-card entry in the second round in Melbourne.

Djokovic beat Tatsuma Ito 6-1, 6-4, 6-2 in a swirling breeze on Rod Laver Arena to advance to a third-round match against another Japanese player, Yoshihito Nishioka, who is coming off a win over 30th-seeded Dan Evans.

In 2017, Djokovic was upset in the second round by Denis Istomin who, like Ito, had earned his spot in the main draw by winning the Asia-Pacific wild-card playoff. That was Djokovic's worst performance in Australia since a first-round exit in 2006.

His experience at Melbourne Park counted as the wind picked up in the afternoon.

"Credit to [Ito] for fighting to the end. Tough conditions out here," Djokovic said. "The wind can get you out of your comfort zone very quickly."

Barty delights crowd with win

Top-ranked Ash Barty also advanced to the third round at Melbourne Park with a 6-1, 6-4 win over Polona Hercog.

Home favourite Barty shook off a habit of losing the first set in recent matches to dominate early and set up a straight sets win.

WATCH | Barty picks up hometown victory:

Ash Barty defeated Polona Hercog in straight sets on Wednesday in Melbourne. 1:16

In the second set, she saved three break points in the eighth game and broke Hercog in the next. Serving for the match, Barty still had to save two break points, one with an ace and the other with a service winner. She had another service winner on match point.

"I was glad I was able to save a few break points there in the second set," Barty said. "The wind was a huge factor."

Wozniacki not ready to say goodbye

Caroline Wozniacki has continued her farewell tournament by overcoming a 5-1 first-set deficit and beating Dayana Yastremska 7-5, 7-5 on her sixth match point in the second round.

Wozniacki has said she plans to retire after this Australian Open. The 2018 champion had three match points in the 10th game of the second set but Yastremska held in a game after she'd taken a medical timeout to treat her left leg.

Wozniacki eventually clinched it two games later with a service break, and wiped tears from her eyes.

Former No. 1-ranked Wozniacki will next play Ons Jabeur, who beat Caroline Garcia 1-6, 6-2, 6-3.

Kvitova, Kenin, Tsitsipas moving on

Two-time Wimbledon champion Kvitova had a comeback run at Melbourne Park last year before losing the final.

She said she had a few nerves in the second round, and had some difficulty with the breeze, but was otherwise OK.

"So far it's good. Being in the third round of a Grand Slam [means] the tournament's not ending," she said.

Because of suspended matches from rain on Monday, eight first-round women's singles matches were not completed Tuesday. There were several still in progress when Osaka and Kvitova went through.

Also advancing to the third round were No. 14-seeded Sofia Kenin, No. 18 Alison Riske, No. 25 Ekaterina Alexandrova and Julia Goerges, who beat 13th-seeded Petra Martic 4-6, 6-3, 7-5.

In first-round matches, 31-year-old Carla Suarez Navarro, a three-time quarter-finalist in Australia, upset 11th-seeded Aryna Sabalenka 7-6 (6), 7-6 (6), and Taylor Townsend beat fellow American Jessica Pegula 6-4, 7-6 (5) to move into a second-rounder against No. 30 Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova.

Sixth-seeded Stefanos Tsitsipas didn't even have to go on court to get through the second round, getting a walkover when Philipp Kohlschreiber withdrew from their scheduled match because of a muscle strain.

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