Djokovic powers past Tsonga, Miloslav puts out Wawrinka

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 18 Jan 2019 12:34:30


 

Melbourne,

World number one Novak Djokovic blasted past Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 6-3, 7-5, 6-4 at the Australian Open on Thursday in a repeat of their 2008 Melbourne final, also won by the Serb. The top seed vanquished his old French foe for the 17th time in 27 tour meetings stretching back 11 years and advances to face Canada's 25th seed Denis Shapovalov in the third round. Djokovic, 31, won the first of his 14 Grand Slams in that final against Tsonga over a decade ago and he said the memories came flooding back as the pair walked back out on Rod Laver Arena.


"You could feel the tension on court at the beginning. We felt a lot of emotion but we tried to play a great game," said Djokovic as both players took a trip down memory lane. That occasion remains world number 177 Tsonga's sole Grand Slam final.


The 33-year-old is on the comeback trail after missing seven months of the 2018 season following left knee surgery that saw his ranking plummet outside the top 200.
In a titanic battle, Canadian Milos Raonic ousted Switzerland’s Stanislas Wawrinka in fourth tightly-contested sets that all went to tie-breaks, while Nishikori was stretched to a draining five-sets agaisnt Ivo Karlovic before sinking tohis knees in relief on a day of epic battles.


Seventh seed Dominic Thiem limped out when he retired while losing 7-5 6-4 2-0 to young Australian wildcard Alexei Popyrin. Thiem went through a first round five-setter against Benoit Paire that finished in the early hours of Wednesday morning and he never looked 100 per cent.
In contrast, Asia's top-ranked men's player Nishikori needed an energy-sapping 3hr 48min to get past big-serving Croat Karlovic 6-3 7-6 (8/6) 5-7 5-7 7-6 (10/7) in humid conditions.


“It was a tough match which could have gone both ways. He almost had it for sure,” said the eighth seed, a three-time quarter-finalist at Melbourne Park.
On Rod Laver Arena, 16th seed Raonic emerged the victor against Wawrinka, a three-time Grand Slam champion who is on the comeback trail from injury.
The Swiss, unseeded for the first time since his debut in 2006, fell to the Canadian 6-7 (4/7) 7-6 (8/6) 7-6 (13/11) 7-6 (7/5).
Raonic, who got to the Australian Open semi-finals in 2016 before losing to Andy Murray, will next face France's Pierre-Hugues Herbert who beat last year's semi-finalist Hyung Cheon of South Korea.
Men staying in the hunt included 11th seed Borna Coric of Croatia and Spain's 23rd seed Pablo Carreno-Busta.