MELBOURNE, Australia — Kei Nishikori got through the third round in straight sets against Joao Sousa, getting a bit of relief after his first two matches at Melbourne Park went to five sets.
The eighth-seeded Nishikori had a 7-6 (6), 6-1, 6-2 win on Margaret Court Arena right after Naomi Osaka’s three-set comeback win over Hsieh Su-wei.
Nishikori, the 2014 U.S. Open finalist, fended off 59 aces from 39-year-old Ivo Karlovic in the second round before winning the fifth-set tiebreaker 10-7.
Sousa had also advanced through two five-setters and needed a medical time out in the third set.
The last time Nishikori won consecutive matches in five sets at a major was at the U.S. Open in 2014, when he beat Milos Raonic and Stan Wawrinka in five on the way to his semifinal win over Novak Djokovic.
It was Nishikori’s third straight game on Margaret Court Arena, and he said he enjoyed the vibe – particularly after playing after fellow Japanese player Osaka, the U.S. Open champion.
“Forehand has been working very well. Second and third sets I was playing really aggressive, and everything was working well,” he said.
He has reached the fourth round in Australia for the seventh time and is on a roll after winning the season-opening tournament in Brisbane.
MELBOURNE, Australia – Novak Djokovic will open his 2023 campaign in Adelaide as he prepares for a shot at a 10th Australian Open crown a year after having his visa revoked on the eve of his title defense.
The 21-time major winner has been granted a visa by the Australian government and has been listed to play at the Adelaide International, which starts Jan. 1.
Serbia isn’t contesting the inaugural United Cup team competition, leaving Djokovic free to play regular warmup tournaments head of the Jan. 16-29 Australian Open.
He’ll be joined in the men’s draw at Adelaide by Russians Daniil Medvedev and Andrey Rublev, Felix Auger-Aliassime of Canada and Andy Murray.
Ons Jabeur, Aryna Sabalenka will headline the women’s draw.
Immigration Minister Andrew Giles last month confirmed Djokovic had been granted a visa to compete in Australia in January. The 35-year-old Serbian had been facing a possible three-year ban after being deported last January over his stance against COVID-19 vaccination.
Djokovic has won the Australian Open a record nine times, including the last three times he played. Rafael Nadal won this year’s title in Djokovic’s absence.
Djokovic was not vaccinated against COVID-19 when he arrived in Melbourne ahead of the 2022 tournament, but Australia has since lifted strict rules for unvaccinated travelers.
Two-time Grand Slam finalist Karolina Pliskova is reuniting with coach Sascha Bajin ahead of the 2023 season.
Pliskova posted on her website and her Twitter account about the move, which comes about six months after she and Bajin stopped working together. The pair originally teamed up in November 2020.
While Bajin was her coach, Pliskova reached the final at Wimbledon in 2021 before losing to champion Ash Barty. Pliskova also was the runner-up at the 2016 U.S. Open, where she defeated Serena Williams in the semifinals before being beat by Angelique Kerber for the trophy.
After splitting from Bajin in July, Pliskova was coached by Leos Friedl. Their results together included a quarterfinal run at the U.S. Open.
Bajin has worked as a coach or hitting partner with several top tennis players, including Grand Slam title winners Williams, Naomi Osaka, Victoria Azarenka and Caroline Wozniacki.
“Thank you for having me back,” Bajin wrote on Twitter. “Let’s go get it.”
Pliskova is a 30-year-old from the Czech Republic who reached No. 1 in the WTA rankings in 2017 and finished this season at No. 31 after going 21-21 with no titles.
Her team also includes fitness specialist Jez Green and physiotherapist Martin Salvador.
Next year’s first Grand Slam tournament, the Australian Open, begins Jan. 16.