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The Latest: Rafael Nadal has little trouble advancing to third round of Australian Open

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MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — The Latest from the Australian Open on Thursday (all times local):

12:10 a.m.

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.

11:25 p.m.

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.

9:35 p.m.

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.

8:25 p.m.

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.”

7:15 p.m.

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.

Nadal beats Ferrer to reach Barcelona Open quarterfinals

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BARCELONA, Spain — Rafael Nadal looked closer to his clay-court best again as he beat David Ferrer 6-3, 6-3 on Thursday to reach the quarterfinals of the Barcelona Open.

The 11-time Barcelona champion saved four of five break points and broke four times in what could have been his last meeting with Ferrer, who is retiring after the Madrid Open next month. It was a sign of improvement for Nadal, who lost in the semifinals in Monte Carlo last week and then needed three sets to get past Leonard Mayer in his opening match in Barcelona.

“This match was important for me,” Nadal said. “Yesterday I had a tough match. I took a step forward and was able to play with more energy.”

The top-seeded Nadal will next face either Stefanos Tsitsipas, last year’s runner-up, or Jan-Lennard Struff.

Nadal was up 5-3 in the first set before play was stopped for a rain delay. He continued to dictate the match when play resumed, serving out the set and breaking Ferrer’s next service game.

Ferrer saved three match points before finally sending a forehand into the net to give Nadal the win.

The 37-year-old Ferrer was making his last appearance at the Barcelona Open and could not hold back the tears when he received an ovation from the audience. He placed his pink headband on the court as a mark that he had played his last match here.

“I am happy to be able to finish this tournament on the center court, playing against Nadal. I gave it my all,” Ferrer said.

Also, third-seeded Dominic Thiem broke Jaume Munar five times to earn a 7-5, 6-1 victory. Fourth-seeded Kei Nishikori, who won the tournament in 2014 and 2015, brushed off Felix Auger-Aliassime 6-1, 6-3.

Grigor Dimitrov was beaten 2-6, 6-4, 7-6 (2) by Nicolas Jarry, who will meet Daniil Medvedev after he beat American Mackenzie McDonald 6-3, 6-2.

Osaka opens clay campaign by beating Hsieh in Stuttgart

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STUTTGART, Germany — Top-ranked Naomi Osaka opened her clay-court season by beating Hsieh Su-wei of Taiwan 6-4, 6-3, on Thursday to reach the Porsche Grand Prix quarterfinals.

Osaka hit 22 winners and converted three of her six break points to seal the win in 1 hour, 24 minutes and set up a meeting with Donna Vekic of Croatia.

After saving two break points early, it was an unusually smooth victory for Osaka over Hsieh. She needed three sets to get past the Taiwanese veteran en route to her Australian Open victory and then lost to her at the Miami Open last month.

“I felt like this surface is more suited for me (than Hsieh),” Osaka said. “I was sort of in my plan. So, I just felt like I executed what I was trying to do.”

Two-time Stuttgart champion Angelique Kerber also advanced by beating fellow German Andrea Petkovic 6-2, 6-4. The fifth-seeded Kerber saved two break points to hold for 2-2 in the first set and then reeled off the next four games to take control. She then earned a decisive break for 4-3 in the second before closing out the win with her fourth match point.

Kerber will face sixth-seeded Kiki Bertens, who served 20 aces to rally for a 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 win over Belinda Bencic.

No. 7 Anastasija Sevastova also advanced by beating former champion Laura Siegemund of Germany 6-4, 6-3 to set up a quarterfinal against Petra Kvitova, who advanced on Wednesday.

Vekic dispatched Russia’s Daria Kasatkina, 6-1, 7-5, earlier on Thursday.