Halep survives scare as Kyrgios thrills in Australian Open second round

Simona Halep survived a stern test to advance to the third round of the 2021 Australian Open. 

The number two seed won a thrilling third set after trailing 5-2 to complete a remarkable comeback against Australian Ajla Tomljanovic to triumph 4-6, 6-4, 7-5.  

Halep, Australian Open finalist in 2018, said: “In the end, I think mentally I was a bit stronger, had the desire to win the match.

“I am really happy I can smile now.” 

Elsewhere in the women’s draw, Naomi Osaka comfortably saw off Caroline Garcia 6-2, 6-3 to advance to the third round, and she was joined by Serena Williams.  

The 23-time Grand Slam winner defeated Nina Stojanovic in straight sets 6-3, 6-0 while her sister, Venus, crashed out. 

The 40-year-old tennis great suffered knee and ankle injuries to lose 6-1, 6-0 to Sara Errani. 

Two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova was also knocked out of the tournament as she fell 6-4, 1-6, 6-1 to Romanian Sorana Cirstea, while reigning French Open champion Iga Swiatek defeated Camilla Giorgi 6-2 6-4.

In the men’s draw, World No. 1 and reigning champion Novak Djokovic dropped a set to American Frances Tiafoe, but defeated the resilient 22-year-old 6-3, 6-7, 7-6, 6-3. 

Meanwhile, World No. 3 Dominic Thiem defeated Dominick Koepfer in straight sets, comfortably winning 6-4, 6-0, 6-2. 

The Austrian will face Nick Kyrgios after the charismatic Australian saved a number of match points to defeat Frenchman Ugo Humbert in a five-set thriller 5-7, 6-4, 3-6, 7-6, 6-4.  

Despite attendance at Melbourne Park being restricted to 30,000 per day, the home fans did not hold back as they cheered Kyrgios to complete a comeback from 5-4 down in the fourth set. 

The 25-year-old rallied back amidst a jubilant crowd, and said he was speechless after the match. 

German sixth seed Alexander Zverev ensured his Australian Open continued with a dominant win over Maxime Cressy 7-5, 6-4, 6-3, but he will not joined by Stan Wawrinka. 

The Swiss star, winner in Melbourne back in 2014, spurned three match points in the final set tie-break, eventually beaten by Marton Fucsovics as the Hungarian triumphed 7-5 6-1 4-6 2-6 7-6(9).

Check out all of SWL’s Australian Open coverage here.

Featured image credit: robbiesaurus via Wiki Commons CC 2.0 license

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