Nearly a week into the Australian Open, the major surprise is that there have been, well, not many surprises at all.
MELBOURNE, Australia — Nearly a week into the Australian Open, the major surprise is that there have been, well, not many surprises at all.
The year’s first Grand Slam tournament is historically fraught with injury withdrawals or top players not yet up to speed in the new season and losing in the first few rounds.
But with the third round complete for the leading players at Melbourne Park, only one of the first eight men’s seeds did not advance: No. 6 Juan Martin del Potro. Six of the eight top women were through, though it should be noted No. 5 Angelique Kerber of Germany lost to No. 19 Ekaterina Makarova of Russia in the fourth round Saturday.
Second-seeded Roger Federer of Switzerland was the last of the main contenders to advance to the fourth round, beating Australian Bernard Tomic 6-4, 7-6 (7-5), 6-1. Federer trailed 4-1 in the tiebreaker but rallied for six of the next seven points in front of a full house at 15,000-seat Rod Laver Arena.
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“I had a few more chances than he did, but I thought the tiebreaker was going to go his way,” Federer said. “I think overall we played a great match. He really got the best out of me tonight.”
The four-time Australian Open champion will next play big-serving Canadian Milos Raonic, who beat No. 17 Philipp Kohlschreiber of Germany 7-6 (7-4), 6-3, 6-4.
Del Potro was a 6-3, 6-3, 6-7 (3-7), 3-6, 6-3 loser to France’s Jeremy Chardy in the biggest upset so far in the men’s bracket.
Those still around advanced fairly impressively.
Top-seeded Novak Djokovic of Serbia and No. 3 Andy Murray of Britain haven’t dropped a set in three matches, although Murray had his difficult moments in a 6-3, 6-4, 7-5 victory over Lithuanian qualifier — and sometimes hitting partner — Ricardas Berankis, while fourth-seeded David Ferrer of Spain has lost just one set.
“I was struggling, he was making me feel pretty uncomfortable on the court,” Murray said.
Chardy broke 2009 U.S. Open champion del Potro’s serve in the final set to go up 5-3, then served out the match in 3 hours, 45 minutes.
“I played some tennis I never would have thought I was capable of playing,” Chardy said.
No. 7 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga of France beat Slovenian Blaz Kavcic 6-2, 6-1, 6-4 and will meet countryman Richard Gasquet, who beat Ivan Dodig of Croatia 4-6, 6-3, 7-6 (7-2), 6-0.
In women’s play, top-seeded Victoria Azarenka of Belarus had her problems against injury-affected American Jamie Hampton and needed three sets to advance Friday, but No. 3 Serena Williams has not dropped a set despite an injured right ankle.
Williams, aiming for a third consecutive major title, recovered from a break down in the second set to win six straight games and beat Japan’s Ayumi Morita 6-1, 6-3 in the third round.
Williams surprised herself with another serve at 128 mph, matching a career best she hit earlier in the tournament.
“I tried to hit it really hard. I hit 207 (kph) the other day and I thought it was luck,” she said. “But I did it again and I was like, ‘Whew! I’m going to try to go for 210.’ We’ll see.”
Second-seeded Maria Sharapova of Russia routed Kirsten Flipkens 6-1, 6-0 in a fourth-round mismatch Saturday.