Australian Open overnight: Seeded stars dominate on Day 3
The first Grand Slam of 2022 is officially underway. Each morning, we'll review the action you may have missed Down Under. Here's what happened overnight on Day 3 of the Australian Open
Top story: Osaka's title defense rumbles on
Defending champion Naomi Osaka has advanced to the third round of the Australian Open with a 6-0, 6-4 win over Madison Brengle in a night match on Rod Laver Arena.
Osaka dominated the opening set, conceding just four points in the first four games, and clinched it in 20 minutes.
But Brengle, an American ranked 54th, increased the pressure in the second set and broke Osaka’s serve in the seventh game.
It triggered an immediate response from the former No. 1-ranked Osaka, who recovered the break immediately and finished off by winning the last nine points of the match.
She will next face Amanda Anisimova, a 20-year-old American who beat Olympic gold medalist Belinda Bencic 6-2, 7-5.
Earlier, French Open champion and fourth-seeded Barbora Krejcikova beat Wang Xiyu 6-2, 6-3 to move into a third-round match against No. 26 Jelena Ostapenko.
Nadal's bid for No. 21 continues apace
Rafael Nadal has moved into the third round with a 6-2, 6-3, 6-4 win over 126th-ranked German qualifier Yannick Hanfmann.
The sixth-seeded Nadal, aiming for a men’s record 21st Grand Slam singles title, didn’t get it all his own way in an afternoon match on Rod Laver Arena.
He had two match points on Hanfmann’s serve in the ninth game of the third set and then two more on his own in the next game before finally clinching the win in 2 hours and 42 minutes when his rival sent a forehand long.
Nadal converted four of his 16 break point chances, including one of eight in the third set, but only faced two breakpoints on his own serve and fended them both off.
The 35-year-old Nadal shares the men's record of 20 singles titles with Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic. Federer is skipping the Australian Open while he continues his recovery from injury. Djokovic, a nine-time champion at Melbourne Park, couldn't play after having his visa canceled for failing to meet Australia's strict COVID-19 vaccination regulations.
Barty needs under an hour ... again
Top-ranked Ash Barty is breezing through the Australian Open draw so far. Things could get a lot more interesting soon enough.
Barty extended her streak of service holds to 48 games and moved into the third round at Melbourne Park for the sixth consecutive year by beating 142nd-ranked qualifier Lucia Bronzetti 6-1, 6-1 in under an hour Tuesday in Rod Laver Arena.
Barty dropped just one game in her first-round match, which also took less than an hour, as she bids to become the first Australian woman since 1978 to win the country's Grand Slam tournament.
She is already a two-time major champion, with trophies at the French Open in 2019 and Wimbledon last year.
Next up for Barty will be a matchup against another Italian, 30th-seeded Camila Giorgi. Win that, and Barty could end up in a fourth-round showdown against defending champion Naomi Osaka.
Zverev beats local favorite
Olympic gold medalist Alexander Zverev advanced to the third round at the Australian Open and continued a streak at Grand Slam tournaments by beating Australian veteran John Millman 6-4, 6-4, 6-0.
The third-seeded Zverev has a perfect record against players at their home majors. He’s now 2-0 against Australians at the Australian Open, 3-0 against French players at Roland Garros and 4-0 against Americans at the U.S. Open. He has never faced a British player at Wimbledon.
“I’m prepared that everyone will hate me after the match. I think it’s quite accurate. I’ll get a lot of boos,” he said jokingly during his on-court TV interview to cheers from the crowd. “To be honest, sports needs the atmosphere. Sports needs the people. I enjoy the atmosphere. I enjoy the noise.”
Zverev will next play Radu Albot. The Moldovan qualifier beat Australian wild-card entry Aleksandar Vukio in the second round.
Anisimova loving life in Melbourne
Amanda Anisimova is revelling on the hardcourts at Melbourne Park, stretching her winning streak here by advancing to the third round of the Australian Open.
The 20-year-old American took less than 90 minutes to beat Olympic gold medalist Belinda Bencic 6-2, 7-5 to set up a potential third-round match against defending Australian Open champion Naomi Osaka.
Anisimova warmed up for her 12th Grand Slam appearance by winning five matches and the title at a WTA 250 tune-up event at Melbourne Park earlier this month.
Badosa, Azarenka moving on
Eighth-seeded Paula Badosa has moved into the third round of the Australian Open with a 6-0, 6-3 win over Italian qualifier Martina Trevisan in Rod Laver Arena.
Badosa won the title at a Sydney tuneup tournament last week, when she put together back-to-back match wins in Australia for the first time.
In other early second-round results on Day 3 of the year’s first tennis Grand Slam event, two-time Australian Open champion Victoria Azarenka beat Jil Teichmann 6-1, 6-2, and No. 30 Camila Giorgi beat Tereza Martincova 6-2, 7-6 (2).