Australian Open: Champ Osaka, Barty, Kvitova Enter Third Round

Naomi Osaka, who won the Australian Open last year, had her service broken three times in the second round tie.

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Defending champion Naomi Osaka threw her racket, tossed a ball and kicked the racket again for good measure, before sitting for a while with a towel over her head. She sensed the crowd was looking for drama, and she gave them a little bit.

She pulled it together quickly in a swirling breeze on Margaret Court Arena, though, and beat Zheng Saisai 6-2, 6-4 to advance to the third round of the Australian Open.

On the adjoining show court at about the same time, 2019 runner-up Petra Kvitova held her composure when she faced three set points before winning 13 of the next 15 points to beat Paula Badosa 7-5, 7-5.

Both of last year's finalists had secured spots in the third round before some of the women hadn't completed their first-round matches in the singles draw. A backlog caused by heavy rain on Day 1, caused a further spillover on Day 2.


Meanwhile, top-ranked Ashleigh Barty advanced to the third round at Melbourne Park with a 6-1, 6-4 win over Polona Hercog.

Serving for the match, Barty had to save two break points, one with an ace and the other with a service winner. She had another service winner on match point.

Naomi Osaka, who won the Australian Open last year, had her service broken three times in the second round tie.
Petra Kvitova of the Czech Republic beat Spain’s Paula Badosa 7-5, 7-5.
(Photo: AP)

Osaka was however unimpressed with her performance.

“I hope you guys like the tennis that’s coming after my match,” third-seeded Osaka told the crowd in an on-court interview, “because it wasn’t that pretty.”

She had her service broken three times, including the one in the second set that caused a minor tantrum.

“I got really fired up when she was up... and people started clapping more,” Osaka said. Asked what the crowd was clapping for, she said: “For the drama. I was complaining here, I was almost throwing my racket over there.”

Osaka won back-to-back Majors at the US Open in 2018 and Australia last year. She was unable to successfully defend her US title, and is using that as a learning experience here to counteract any nerves.

“I got that all out during the US Open. Coming here, I think about it as a new tournament. The only thing that has changed is maybe people want to beat me more.”
Naomi Osaka, defending Australian Open champion

One of those is two-time Wimbledon champion Kvitova, who had a comeback run at Melbourne Park last year before losing the final.

She said she had a few nerves in the second round, and had some difficulty with the breeze, but was otherwise okay.

“So far it’s good. Being in the third round of a Grand Slam (means) the tournament’s not ending,” she said.

Because of suspended matches from rain on Monday, eight first-round women’s singles matches were not completed Tuesday.

Also advancing to the third round were No 14-seeded Sofia Kenin, No 18 Alison Riske, No 25 Ekaterina Alexandrova and Julia Goerges, who beat 13th-seeded Petra Martic 4-6, 6-3, 7-5.

In first-round matches, 31-year-old Carla Suarez Navarro, a three-time quarter-finalist in Australia, upset 11th-seeded Aryna Sabalenka 7-6(6), 7-6(6), and Taylor Townsend beat fellow American Jessica Pegula 6-4, 7-6(5) to move into a second-rounder against No 30 Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova.

Sixth-seeded Stefanos Tsitsipas didn't even have to go on court to get through the second round, getting a walkover when Philipp Kohlschreiber withdrew from their scheduled match because of a muscle strain.

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