Australian Open

Anyone for Tennys? Sandgren knocks out Stan Wawrinka as temperatures soar at Australian Open

Only three women left in the draw have won majors and two of those will meet in the next round at Melbourne Park

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 18 January, 2018, 8:17pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 18 January, 2018, 8:17pm

Former champion Stan Wawrinka wasn’t sure if he was ready to play the Australian Open after left knee surgery last year left his behind in his preparations. It showed on Thursday.

Wawrinka never looked capable of winning his third-round match, losing 6-2, 6-1, 6-4 to American Tennys Sandgren. The Swiss star is ranked and seeded ninth, Sandgren is 97th.

The 2014 Australian Open champion spent eight weeks on crutches following his surgery, and pulled out of an exhibition tournament in Abu Dhabi two weeks before the Australian Open.

He admitted that he waited until the last possible moment before deciding to play in Melbourne after not having played a competitive match since Wimbledon.

The 32-year-old Wawrinka was attempting to make the third round for the 10th consecutive year.

Fourth-seeded Alexander Zverev overcame a mid-match lull to advance to the third round of the Australian Open with a 6-1, 6-3, 4-6, 6-3 win over fellow German Peter Gojowczyk.

It’s the second year in a row that Zverev has reached the third round. Last year, the 20-year-old who is predicted to be a future grand slam winner lost to eventual runner-up Rafael Nadal in five sets.

Zverev won five titles last year, including Masters 1000 titles at Rome and Montreal.

Six-time Australian Open champion Novak Djokovic overcame a poor start – dropping his first two service games – to continue his career-long domination of Gael Monfils.

Djokovic beat the Frenchman for the 15th consecutive time – 4-6, 6-3, 6-1, 6-3 in temperatures that reached 40 degrees Celsius (104 Fahrenheit).

Monfils needed to be checked by a tournament doctor on Rod Laver Arena in the second set when the torrid conditions left him appearing woozy at times.

Djokovic needed four match points in the final game which stretched over eight minutes.

Top-seeded Simona Halep cruised to a 6-2, 6-2 win over Eugenie Bouchard to advance to the third round of the Australian Open.

With temperatures down a few degrees from the torrid 40 degrees earlier in the day, Halep helped gain some revenge from the last – and only – time the pair met in a grand slam tournament.

At Wimbledon in 2014, the Canadian beat Halep in the semi-finals before advancing to the final, where she lost to Petra Kvitova.

Her strong run early that year – semi-finals at the Australian and French Opens before Wimbledon – helped propel Bouchard to number five in the rankings. She has since had a major slide and is now ranked 112th.

Wimbledon champion Garbine Muguruza struggled with the heat in an upset second-round loss that left only Sharapova, Kerber and French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko as grand slam winners in the women’s draw. Ostapenko plays her third-round match on Friday, while the other two will meet in the third round.

Maria Sharapova, the 2008 Australian Open winner, hurried through the first set on Rod Laver Arena in 23 minutes before beating 14th-seeded Anastasija Sevastova 6-1, 7-6 (7-4).

Heat hovered around 40 Celsius (104 Fahrenheit) as 2016 champion Angelique Kerber set up a meeting with Sharapova with a 6-4, 6-1 win over Donna Vekic in a 70-minute afternoon match at Margaret Court Arena.

The crowd sang “Happy Birthday” and gave three hoorays to celebrate Kerber’s 30th birthday. It was her 11th win, including the Sydney International title last week.

“Happy to be playing tennis again like 2016,” said Kerber, who planned an ice bath before a relaxed dinner out in Melbourne to mark the occasion.

Ninth-seeded Johanna Konta, the 2016 Australian Open semi-finalist, lost in straight sets to US lucky loser Bernarda Pera.

Number 123-ranked Pera is making her grand slam debut, and didn’t even know she had a spot in the main draw until Margarita Gasparyan withdrew.

“It feels amazing. I was ready to leave on Monday and then they told me I’m in,” said Pera, who next plays 20-ranked Barbora Strycova. “I was checking the tickets to fly back. I’m happy I didn’t buy one.”

US Open finalist Madison Keys opened with four straight aces and won the first 11 games in a 6-0, 6-1 win over 92-ranked Ekaterina Alexandrova.

Also advancing were number eight Caroline Garcia and 26th-seed Agnieszka Radwanska, who next plays Hsieh.

Lauren Davis beat Andrea Petkovic and has a third-round match against Halep.

Former world number one Karolina Pliskova advanced to a third-round match against Lucie Safarova (29).

Men’s seeds eliminated included number seven David Goffin and 13th-seed Sam Querrey, who was beaten 6-4, 7-6 (6), 4-6, 6-2 by 80th-ranked Marton Fucsovics.

Number five Dominic Thiem rallied to beat 190th-ranked American qualifier Denis Kudla 6-7 (6), 3-6, 6-3, 6-2, 6-3 and 21st-seed Albert Ramos beat another American, wild-card entry Tim Smyczek.

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Also advancing were 2009 US Open champion Juan Martin del Potro, 19th-seed Tomas Berdych, Fabio Fognini (25), Adrian Mannarino (26), Richard Gasquet (29) and Chung Hyeon.

It’s supposed to be even hotter on Friday, with a forecast high of 42 degrees.