Eight-time champion Novak Djokovic was made to sweat at the Australian Open on Wednesday as Serena Williams made serene progress in her bid for a record-equalling 24th Grand Slam title.
Women’s favourite Naomi Osaka also charged through but fellow major winners Stan Wawrinka, Bianca Andreescu and Petra Kvitova were all second-round casualties.
- Concerns as Peace Corps makes fresh push for legal cover
- 93 checkpoints: How extortions, multiple taxes force transporters off Taraba, Benue roads
Among the late matches, Aussie crowd-pleaser Nick Kyrgios served underarm, smashed a racquet and rowed with the chair umpire before coming from behind to beat France’s Ugo Humbert in five gripping sets.
Earlier, Djokovic was given a stern examination by American Frances Tiafoe and dropped his first set of the tournament before recovering to win 6-3, 6-7 (3/7), 7-6 (7/2), 6-3.
“I was fortunate to get through the third set today, it was anybody’s game,” said the defending champion, after his win in hot conditions in Rod Laver Arena.
The top seed looked in control after taking the first set, but lightning-quick Tiafoe, who reached the quarterfinals two years ago, refused to go away.
The American bounced back to take a close second set but imploded as tensions rose in the fourth, receiving a code violation for an audible obscenity as Djokovic took charge.