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Australian Open: Djokovic and Federer Cruise, Osaka and Gauff Collide, Sloppy Serena

The first couple of rounds of the Australian Open haven’t produced too many earth-shattering news. The big names such as Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer, Naomi Osaka, and Serena Williams are still alive and have had relatively few problems winning their first couple of matches.

But it will get a lot more interesting in the third round, particularly in the women’s draw, where teenage sensation Coco Gauff will collide with defending champion Naomi Osaka in what should be an intriguing match.

Allow SBOTOP to catch you up on all the biggest news items through the first two rounds of the Australian Open.

 

Djokovic, Federer cruise to victory

Novak Djokovic has already lifted some silverware this year after leading Serbia to the inaugural ATP Cup title. And he has started the defence of his Aussie Open crown with wins over Jan-Lennard Struff and Tatsuma Ito.

Djokovic surprisingly dropped a set against Struff, but he breezed by Ito to win in straight sets, 6-1, 6-4, 6-2. The Serb’s service game against Ito was outstanding as he won 93 per cent of his first-serve points and fired in 16 aces.

Meanwhile, Roger Federer has yet to drop a set in his first two matches of the tournament. The Swiss swept past American Steve Johnson in the first round, 6-3, 6-2, 6-2, and turned in an even more dominant performance in his 6-1, 6-4, 6-1 second-round win against Filip Krajinovic.

“I’m very happy, it’s a great start to the season,” Federer said after his win. “I’m feeling really relaxed out on court. You train hard and you hope it pays off and not that it was all for nothing this week. I’m happy, I’m still going.”

Djokovic will face another Japanese player in the third round in Yoshihito Nishioka, while Federer will have a slightly tougher test in the form of Aussie favourite John Millman. Expect more Australian Open 2020 highlights from those two as they look to make another deep run in the tournament.

 

Osaka, Gauff collide in third round

Naomi Osaka’s defence of her Australian Open title has begun in impressive fashion. The World No. 3 looked dominant against Marie Bouzkova and Zheng Saisai as she won both matches, 6-2, 6-4.

Osaka’s prize for reaching the third round is a matchup against Coco Gauff. The 15-year-old phenom made headlines last season when she defeated Venus Williams at Wimbledon. And she repeated the feat in Melbourne as she beat the former Grand Slam champion in straight sets.

Serena Williams overcame an unstable performance at the Australian Open to beat Tamara Zidansek
Serena Williams reacts during second round singles match against Slovenia’s Tamara Zidansek at the Australian Open

Gauff had a tougher go of things in the second round against Sorana Cirstea as she lost the opening set. But the teenager showed mental toughness beyond her years as she recovered to take the next two sets and the match.

“My parents always told me you can always come back — no matter what the score is,” said Gauff after the match.

Gauff will most likely have to put that mindset to the ultimate test as she faces the defending champion Osaka next.

This isn’t the first time Osaka and Gauff will meet on the court in a Grand Slam. They already faced off in the third round of the US Open, with Osaka coming out on top in straight sets. And it will take something special for Gauff to defy the Australian Open 2020 and upset the defending champion.

 

Serena through despite subpar performance

Serena Williams’ quest to win her first Grand Slam since the 2017 Aussie Open has gone off to a promising start. The No. 8 seed demolished Anastasia Potapova 6-0, 6-3 in the first round and took care of Tamara Zidansek 6-2, 6-3 in the second.

Although, the American wasn’t exactly pleased with her performance against Zidansek as she readily admitted after the match.

“I made so many errors in a row and had to battle through my own internal problems,” said Williams.

“I knew I had to play better and couldn’t keep making unforced errors like that, otherwise it was going to be a long evening for me.”

Serena started to commit several errors in the second set, which saw her face four break points in the sixth game. But she fought them off to get to 3-3, which more or less took the fight out of Zidansek.

Williams will look to put up a much better showing against her third-round opponent Wang Qiang. The two met in the quarter-finals of the US Open, which Williams thoroughly dominated. She won 6-1, 6-0 in just 44 minutes.

 

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