MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — The Latest from the Australian Open on Thursday (all times local):
Rafael Nadal swept aside 2006 Australian Open finalist Marcos Baghdatis 6-3, 6-1, 6-3 on Thursday to advance to the third round of the tournament the Spaniard won in 2009.
The 14-time major champion won on his third match point in 2 hours, 13 minutes.
Nadal, who lost in the first round here last year to Fernando Verdasco, is looking to win his first major since the 2014 French Open. He had two lengthy stints on the sidelines last year and played only four matches after a fourth-round exit at the U.S. Open.
He will play Alexander Zverev in the third round. The 24th-seeded Zverev beat Frances Tiafoe in straight sets earlier Thursday.
Eighth-seeded Dominic Thiem is through to the Australian Open’s third round after beating Jordan Thompson 6-2, 6-1, 6-7 (6), 6-4 in the last match at Margaret Court Arena on Thursday.
Thompson was attempting to come back from two sets down for the second match in a row. He lost the first two sets to Joao Sousa on Tuesday in the first round, but came back for a five-set victory.
Thiem will next face Benoit Paire, who beat Fabio Fognini 7-6 (3), 4-6, 6-3, 3-6, 6-3 earlier Thursday.
Serena Williams has managed to do what another six-time Australian Open champion couldn’t achieve on Thursday – advance to the third round. Williams, playing on the same court that saw six-time winner Novak Djokovic lose in five sets to wild-card entry Denis Istomin, beat Lucie Safarova 6-3, 6-4.
It was their first meeting since Williams won their French Open final in 2015.
Safarova had saved nine match points in her first-round match, but there were no such theatrics in this one.
The Czech player double-faulted on break point in the seventh game of the second set, and Williams clinched the match three games later.
Williams will now play Nicole Gibbs, who beat another American, Irina Falconi, 6-4, 6-1.
The second-seeded Williams is bidding to become the first player in the Open era to win 23 Grand Slam singles titles. She lost in the final here last year to Angelique Kerber, but clinched her 22nd major, tying Steffi Graf, at Wimbledon.
Croatian veteran Mirjana Lucic-Baroni has beaten third-seeded Agnieszka Radwanska 6-3, 6-2 to reach the third round of the Australian Open, her best performance at the tournament in 19 years.
‘”‘t’s amazing. Oh my God, it’s been so long since I won a match or two. Well, this is the first time ever in Australia,” she said. “As I’m getting older, it seems I’m getting better.”
The 34-year-old Lucic-Baroni tends to play well against the top players at the Slams – she’s also beaten Simona Halep at the French Open and U.S. Open in recent years.
Lucic-Baroni won the 1998 Australian Open doubles title with Martina Hingis at the age of 15. She also made the 1999 Wimbledon singles semifinals before quitting the sport for several years.
“I was a little baby back then,” she says of her early success. “Now, I can be maybe more relaxed. I said to myself today on the court, don’t worry, be happy.”
Defending champion Novak Djokovic is out of the Australian Open, beaten 7-6 (8), 5-7, 2-6, 7-6 (5), 6-4 by wild-card entry Denis Istomin in a second-round match on Thursday.
Istomin made the vital break in the fifth game of the deciding set, then held service the rest of the way in the marathon 4 hour, 48-minute match on Rod Laver Arena.
The match featured a little bit of everything.
In a 15-minute opening game, the six-time champion Djokovic saved six break points. In the second set, he appeared to hyperextend his left leg in the third game, and spent much of the following break stretching it over a chair.
In the 10th game of that set, Djokovic saved two sets points after serving a double-fault.
But Djokovic broke in the following game to lead 6-5, then held his service with four consecutive points to take the set.
Djokovic clinched the third set when he successfully challenged a line call.
Istomin had a set point in the 10th game of the fourth set, then went ahead 5-1 in the tiebreaker before slamming down an ace to send it to a fifth-set decider.