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Australian Open Day 3: Serena Williams, Naomi Osaka cruise, Nick Kyrgios makes magnificent comeback

Yahoo Sports Staff
·5-min read
Serena Williams of the US hits a return against Serbia's Nina Stojanovic during their women's singles match on day three of the Australian Open tennis tournament in Melbourne on February 10, 2021. (Photo by Paul CROCK / AFP) / -- IMAGE RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE - STRICTLY NO COMMERCIAL USE -- (Photo by PAUL CROCK/AFP via Getty Images)
Serena Williams needed just 69 minutes to secure her second-round win. (Paul Crok/AFP via Getty Images)

As some players blame a COVID-19 quarantine for stunting their preparation for the Australian Open, Serena Williams so far appears unaffected.

The tournament’s No. 10 seed cruised to a 6-3, 6-0 victory over Nina Stojanovic in the second round Wednesday, following a 6-1, 6-1 over Laura Siegemund to open tournament play. Williams broke Stojanovic to take a 3-1 lead in the first set. Stojanovic managed to keep things as close as 5-3 from there, but didn’t win another game as Williams rolled.

Williams, a seven-time Australian Open champion, needed just 69 minutes to secure the win. She advances to the third round, where she’ll take on Russia’s Anastasia Potapova.

No. 8 seed Bianca Andreescu sees early exit after long layoff

Bianca Andreescu’s return to the Grand Slam stage came to a swift end. The 20-year-old Canadian fell in straight sets in the second round to Taiwan’s Hsieh Su-wei, 6-3, 6-2 on Wednesday in just her second match since 2019.

Andreescu burst onto the scene that year, rising from outside the WTA top 100 to defeat Williams in the US Open final to secure her first Grand Slam title at 19 years old. A knee injury sidelined her for the start of the 2020 season, and she didn’t play the remainder of the year amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Canada's Bianca Andreescu reacts during her second round match against Taiwan's Hsieh Su-Wei at the Australian Open tennis championship in Melbourne, Australia, Wednesday, Feb. 10, 2021.(AP Photo/Rick Rycroft)
Bianca Andreescu is a long way from her 2019 US Open form. (AP Photo/Rick Rycroft)

Andreescu entered Australian Open play as the No. 8 seed and secured a 6-2, 4-6, 6-3 victory over Romania’s Mihaela Buzarnescu in the opening round. But she looked little like the player that rose to No. 4 in the world after her US Open run. Upon her exit early Wednesday, she was the highest-seeded player in the women’s draw to lose.

Hsieh, the No. 71 player in the world, advances to the third round while adding to her remarkable record against the world’s top competition. She improved to 8-2 in her career against top 10 players with Wednesday’s win.

“It’s strange — I normally feel more excited to play with better players,” Hsieh said after the match.

Stefanos Tsitsipas’ awkward/charming interview

In case you missed it, Stefanos Tsitsipas delivered the most entertaining moment of the tournament so far after his first-round win over France’s Gilles Simon on Tuesday. He simultaneously elicited laughs, groans and cheers from an Aussie Open crowd that’s clearly glad to be in the stands.

Osaka advances with ease despite recurring tennis nightmare

Japan’s Naomi Osaka defeated another obstacle on her journey toward the championship with an easy victory over Caroline Garcia of France. She eliminated Garcia 6-2, 6-3 in just 61 minutes, and after the match told reporters about the recurring tennis nightmare she has when she travels to tournaments.

If you find yourself sitting next to Osaka on a flight, watch out for her backhand.

Nick Kyrgios makes epic comeback

Nick Kyrgios, playing in his home country, pulled off an epic comeback to beat No. 29 Ugo Humbert 5-7, 6-4, 3-6, 7-6, 6-4. He fended off two match points from Humbert in the fourth set before managing to pull ahead and take control.

The crowds at the Australian Open are reduced this year due to COVID-19 precautions, but when Kyrgios sealed the win, it sounded like the John Cain Arena was packed to the brim.

In his on-court interview after the win, Kyrgios was full of emotion and still in disbelief at what he’d managed to accomplish after a full year off from competition.

Venus falls to Errani after injury

Venus Williams’ quest for a third Australian Open title ended on Wednesday with a straight sets loss to Italy’s Sara Errani. Williams won just one game over the two sets, but was heavily impacted by injury. She stumbled while returning a shot on what would be the very first point of the game, and received treatment on her right ankle and left knee right after.

Williams was in pain and struggled with her movement after she returned to the court. After she lost, she looked devastated as she walked off the court while the crowd warmly cheered her.

Novak Djokovic beats American Frances Tiafoe to advance

Frances Tiafoe put up a fight, but couldn’t defeat world No. 1 Novak Djokovic. Tiafoe managed to win one set, and kept it close throughout, but Djokovic pulled through with a line of 6-3, 6-7 (3-7), 7-6 (7-2), 6-3.

In true Djokovic fashion, the tweet he posted giving respect to Tiafoe featured mostly pictures of himself.

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