Roger Federer into 3rd round to extend Aussie streak

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MELBOURNE, Australia — Roger Federer, who had reached the third round at the Australian Open every year since his tournament debut in 2000, extended his streak by beating Filip Krajinovic 6-1, 6-4, 6-1 in the second round.

The 20-time major champion has won the title in Australia six times and showed why against the 41st-ranked Krajinovic, winning in 1 hour, 32 minutes.

“I’m feeling really relaxed on court,” the 38-year-old Federer said. “I’m happy. I’m still going, and looking forward to the next one, of course.”

Krajinovic’s first-round match was delayed because of heavy rain on Day 1 of the tournament, and he had to get through a tough five-setter against Quentin Halys. Federer finished off a straight-set first-round win over Steve Johnson in 1:21 on Monday.

“It wasn’t 100% fair he played 3 1/2 hours yesterday and I played zero,” Federer said. “Yeah, I do feel a little sorry … but you’ve got to take advantage of it, I guess.”

Federer will next play John Millman, the Australian who produced an upset win over him at the 2018 U.S. Open.

9:55 p.m.

Police say up to 20 people were ejected from the Australian Open for disruptive behavior. The group of men were supporting Greek player Maria Sakkari in a late afternoon match on Court 8 against Nao Hibino of Japan.

“About 6.05 p.m. this evening a group of 15-20 males were evicted from the tennis for disruptive behavior,” Victoria state police said in a statement. “The group had received numerous warnings during a match on Court 8 from a match referee, security and police. After the match the group were asked to leave and did so peacefully.”

The 22nd-seeded Sakkari won the match 7-6 (4), 6-4 and will next play either 10th-seeded Madison Keys or Arantxa Rus.

8:40 p.m.

Serena Williams moved a step closer in her bid for a record 24th major title with a 6-2, 6-3 win over Tamara Zidansek to reach the third round at the Australian Open.

Williams won the last of her seven Australian Open titles in 2017, but hasn’t added a major championship since then. She took time off the tour to have her daughter, Olympia, and has lost four Grand Slam finals in the last two seasons. Her title in Auckland, New Zealand recently was her first at tour-level in almost three years.

The 38-year-old Williams dominated in the first set but was slowed down slightly in the second, when the roof was closed because of rain, and the 70th-ranked Zidansek saved the first seven break-point chances she faced.

“I knew I had to step up, otherwise it was going to be a really long evening for me,” Williams said.

8 p.m.

Bob and Mike Bryan have started their farewell to Grand Slam doubles with a 6-1, 3-6, 6-3 first-round win over Rohan Bopanna and Yasutaka Uchiyama at the Australian Open.

The 41-year-old American twins have won six Australian Open doubles championships among their record 16 major titles together. The most accomplished men’s doubles team in history, the Bryans announced late last year that they planned to retire after the 2020 U.S. Open.

They won their last Australian title in 2013.

7:40 p.m.

Three-time major semifinalist Grigor Dimitrov has been eliminated at the Australian Open by 22-year-old American Tommy Paul in a second-round match that went to a fifth-set tiebreaker.

Paul had never won a Grand Slam match until this week.

He is ranked 80th.

But he built a two-sets-to-none lead against the 18th-seeded Dimitrov, gave that lead away, was two points from defeat and then pulled out the victory.

Dimitrov’s semifinals at major tournaments include a run to that stage in Australia three years ago and at the U.S. Open in 2019.

7 p.m.

Milos Raonic has set up a third-round match against 2019 semifinalist Stefanos Tsitsipas by beating Cristian Garin 6-3, 6-4, 6-2 at Melbourne Arena.

Raonic, the 2016 Wimbledon runner-up, had 11 of his 19 aces in the third set.

Tsitsipas took advantage of a walkover in his second-round match, advancing without hitting a ball when Philipp Kohlschreiber pulled out of their match because of a muscle strain.

6:20 p.m.

Tennys Sandgren has upset eighth-seeded Matteo Berrettini of Italy in five sets to reach the third round.

Sandgren is ranked only 100th.

He wasted a two-sets-to-none lead against 2019 U.S. Open semifinalist Berrettini but managed to pull out the victory by a score of 7-6 (7), 6-4, 4-6, 2-6, 7-5.

Sandgren improved to 4-0 in five-setters. It was also the fourth top-10 win of his career; two of the others also came at Melbourne Park, back in 2018, when Sandgren reached the quarterfinals.

Up next for Sandgren is an all-American matchup against Sam Querrey.

4:30 p.m.

Seven-time champion Novak Djokovic avoided the same mistake he made three years go when he met a wild-card entry in the second round in Melbourne.

Djokovic beat Tatsuma Ito 6-1, 6-4, 6-2 in a swirling breeze on Rod Laver Arena to advance to a third-round match against another Japanese player, Yoshihito Nishioka, who is coming off a win over 30th-seeded Dan Evans.

In 2017, Djokovic was upset in the second round by Denis Istomin who, like Ito, had earned his spot in the main draw by winning the Asia-Pacific wild-card playoff. That was Djokovic’s worst performance in Australia since a first-round exit in 2006.

His experience at Melbourne Park counted as the wind picked up in the afternoon.

“Credit to (Ito) for fighting to the end. Tough conditions out here,” Djokovic said. “”The wind can get you out of your comfort zone very quickly.”

3:40 p.m.

Coco Gauff has beaten Sorana Cirstea 4-6, 6-3, 7-5 to set up a third-round match against defending champion Naomi Osaka at the Australian Open.

The 15-year-old Gauff rallied after losing the first set and got the pivotal service break in the next-to-last game before serving out against 29-year-old Cirstea, who is playing at the Australian Open for a 12th time.

Gauff started the tournament with her second first-round win over Venus Williams in three majors, following her upset over the seven-time Grand Slam champion at last year’s Wimbledon.

Osaka had to overcame swirling winds on Margaret Court Arena to beat Zheng Saisai 6-2, 6-4 in one of the first matches on Day 3.

Gauff reached the fourth round on her Wimbledon debut and the third round at the U.S. Open.

3 p.m.

Caroline Wozniacki has continued her farewell tournament by overcoming a 5-1 first-set deficit and beating Dayana Yastremska 7-5, 7-5 on her sixth match point in the second round.

Wozniacki has said she plans to retire after this Australian Open. The 2018 champion had three match points in the 10th game of the second set but Yastremska held in a game after she’d taken a medical timeout to treat her left leg.

Wozniacki eventually clinched it two games later with a service break, and wiped tears from her eyes.

Former No. 1-ranked Wozniacki will next play Ons Jabeur, who beat Caroline Garcia 1-6, 6-2, 6-3.

Nakashima takes first ATP Tour title at San Diego

San Diego Open - Finals
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SAN DIEGO – Brandon Nakashima earned his first ATP Tour victory in his hometown, beating friend and fellow Southern Californian Marcos Giron 6-4, 6-4 in the San Diego Open final.

“It’s super-special, something you dream of, but to have it happen in my hometown with all my friends and family here, it’s a moment I’ll never forget,” said Nakashima, who had two previous finals appearances. “I hope there are many more moments like this to come.”

Nakashima, a 21-year-old who grew up in San Diego and trained extensively at the event’s site as a junior, clinched the opening set in only 30 minutes. The second set, filled with lengthy rallies, took nearly an hour.

Giron, the No. 5 seed and former NCAA title winner from UCLA, wasn’t able to fend off Nakashima’s persistent ground strokes and well-placed serves. Nakashima had eight aces, six in the first set.

Serving at 5-4 in the second set, Nakashima tallied the match’s deciding two points when Giron pushed an easy volley into the net, followed by Nakashima’s second-serve ace.

He earned $93,090, about half of what received for reaching the third round of the U.S. Open in early September.

Nakashima, who was ranked No. 69 on the ATP Tour, moved up to 48, his highest ranking in nearly three years on tour. Despite the loss, Giron moved up to 53 from 58.

Not only was the singles title claimed by an American, the doubles title also taken by an American duo as the second-seeded pair of Nathaniel Lammons and Jackson Withrow defeated Australians Jason Kubler and Luke Saville 7-6 (5), 6-2.

The $612,00 event was held at Barnes Tennis Center, which next hosts the $757,900 WTA 500 San Diego Open, Oct. 8-16. That will feature 16 of the world’s top-ranked 20 women pros, led by No. 1 Iga Swiatek.

Frances Tiafoe lifts Team World to 1st Laver Cup win

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LONDON — The last to arrive, befitting his reputation in the locker room, Frances Tiafoe strutted into the post-match news conference after clinching Team World’s Laver Cup victory over Roger Federer’s star-studded Team Europe and shouted, “Champs are here!”

Then the 24-year-old from Maryland joined his teammates at the table where the silver trophy was resting Sunday night, put down a bottle of water, pulled a Budweiser out of his red jacket and smiled that wide smile of his.

Performing with the same infectious showmanship and crunch-time success he displayed en route to his first Grand Slam semifinal at the U.S. Open earlier this month, Tiafoe staved off four match points and came back to beat Stefanos Tsitsipas 1-6, 7-6 (11), 10-8, giving Team World its first triumph in five editions of an event founded by Federer’s management company.

“I don’t like losing,” said Federer, a 20-time major champion whose final match before retirement was a loss alongside Rafael Nadal in doubles against Tiafoe and Jack Sock on Friday night. “It’s not fun. It just leaves not the best taste.”

When Tsitsipas put a forehand into the net to end Sunday’s contest – and the three-day competition – Tiafoe dropped his racket and fell to his back on the court, where teammates piled atop him. After getting on his feet, Tiafoe cupped a hand to his ear, asking spectators for more noise, then pointed to his chest and yelled, “I’m him! I’m him!”

“When it becomes a circus out here, and I’m just using the crowd and acting like a little kid and having a bunch of reactions … I end up playing really well and I start building momentum off it,” Tiafoe said. “I’m able to play and function in that better than my opponents, it seems.”

Using the nickname other players gave Tiafoe to reflect the way he embraces big moments, Team World captain John McEnroe said: “Frances is `Prime Time.’ He loves this stuff.”

McEnroe had been 0-4 while leading his squad against his former playing rival, Team Europe captain Bjorn Borg; both indicated they would be back for the 2023 Laver Cup in Vancouver, but that might be their last go-round.

This one served as a celebration of Federer and the 41-year-old Swiss star’s career.

Tiafoe responded with a quip when asked whether he might owe Federer some form of “I’m sorry” for beating him in his finale or for defeating his team, which also included Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray for a total of 66 major singles titles. That, incidentally, is 66 more than Team World, a collection of 20-somethings (Sock turned 30 on Saturday).

“”I’m not going to apologize to him. He’s got a lot to apologize for after the last 24 years – after beating everybody on the tour,” said Tiafoe, who went 0-3 against Federer in singles head-to-head. “I will say thank you for having me in this amazing event, what he’s done for the game. He’s a class act. Happy to know him, happy to call him a friend, happy to call him a colleague, and best wishes in his second act. But I will not apologize.”

Team Europe entered Sunday at O2 Arena with an 8-4 lead; the first team to 13 points would win.

Each match on Day 3 was worth three points, and Team World went ahead thanks to a pair of victories by Felix Auger-Aliassime, a 22-year-old from Canada. He beat Djokovic 6-3, 7-6 (3), after partnering with Sock to edge Murray and Matteo Berrettini 2-6, 6-3, 10-8 in doubles.

Tiafoe then made it 13-8, but it wasn’t easy.

He went a tournament-record 8-0 in tiebreakers at Flushing Meadows this month and was just as resilient Sunday.

“It’s been a long time that Frances has been playing the big guys close and losing a lot of close battles. It’s great to see lately he’s been winning,” said Taylor Fritz, an American who is the same age as Tiafoe and has known him for years. “It’s about time that he steps up and the matches go the other way. Today was a joke.”

That’s because Tiafoe was a single point from losing to Tsitsipas four times in their second-set tiebreaker, but somehow got through that. Then, at 4-all in the concluding match tiebreaker – first to 10, win by two – Tiafoe sprinted from behind the baseline to near the net and barely got to a drop shot by Tsitsipas, somehow lunging to flick an angled winner.

While most of the 16,365 fans went wild, Tiafoe went around the net and stood still, hands on his hips, relishing the atmosphere.

“We put him in the slot that he was in today for a reason,” said Team World’s Tommy Paul, another 24-year-old American, “and he stepped up for us, big time.”