By Britwatch Tennis
- Roger Federer reaches 300 Slam wins
- Maria Sharapova reaches 600 career wins
- Daria Gavrilova wins hearts as she advances to fourth round
- Nick Kyrgios …
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA – Roger Federer and Maria Sharapova hit significant win milestones but biggest cheer of the day went to Daria Gavrilova after the Aussie advanced to the fourth round.
Sharapova notched up her 600th career win, but was made to work hard at it, after being taken to three sets by USA’s Lauren Davis. The first set made it look routine, but after Sharapova’s serve went on an Aussie walkabout, Davis nibbled away to keep Sharapova chasing, and in the resulting tie-break, never let the Russian get ahead.
599 wins behind her, Sharapova is not short of experience, and proceeded to put the hammer down in the third with a 6-1 6-7(5) 6-0 win.
Speaking afterwards, the Russian said: “I felt like I made it a little bit more difficult than I should have. I definitely had a letup at 2-1, 30-Love. You know, felt like I was hitting the ball well, doing the right things to get in that position, then let up. In a Grand Slam environment against anyone you can’t expect to get away with it, and I didn’t in the second set.
“But overall really happy with how I came out in the third and stepped up, considering it’s been, you know, many weeks since I’ve been in that position. So I was happy with the way I finished. I think I can take a lot of good things from that.”
It’s funny how things change. From winning her first Slam title at 17, to being both a successful businesswoman and one of the richest and most successful women on the tour, she commented about her milestone:
“I think it’s a proud number. I’ve played for many years. I don’t think about those numbers until I finish the match and someone does mention it. I think it’s a good fact that I’ve been able to win that many matches. But overall it’s not constantly on my mind, how many matches I’ve won in my career.
“I have been doing it for a long time. That’s a fact. But there’s nothing else that I’d rather do right now than keep doing that. I think if I think about it like that, like, Oh, I’ve been around the block, I’ve been to all these tournaments so many times, that would seem quite heavy, not really motivate me much.
“You always have to find new inspirations and new goals, find things that really get you going in the morning.”
Hot on her heels was Federer, who of course saw in last year with his 1000th career win and the title in Brisbane. Whilst he did not defend that title this year, he did clock up his 300th Slam match win over Grigor Dimitrov. 6-4 3-6 6-1 6-4.
His view on the numbers? “It’s very exciting, I must tell you. Like when I reached 1,000 last year, it was a big deal for me. Not something I ever aimed for or looked for, but when it happens, it’s very special. Yeah, you look deeper into it, I guess, where it’s all happened and how. Yeah, so it’s very nice. I’m very happy.”
It was business as usual for women’s defending champion Serena Williams as she demolished her sister’s vanquisher Daria Kasatkina. It took her just 45 minutes to demolish the young Russian, although she had nothing but praise for her as they shook hands at the net, and she elaborated:
“I think it’s important. We definitely want to encourage each other. This is our sport. We want to see it grow. Ultimately you want to see it be the best sport for women and continue to be the best sport and biggest sport for women. Hopefully we can all encourage and just hope for the best.”
With one Aussie legend departing, Lleyton Hewitt planted himself in Nick Kyrgios’ box for his third round encounter with Tomas Berdych, but alas he became the talk of Twitter as he became obsessed with hearing music from somewhere in the stands.
Umpire James Keothavong did his best to try and mollify the clearly riled Kyrgios as he dropped the first two sets. He did rally well to take the third set but it was just a step too far to force a fifth, as Berdych booked his place in the fourth round 6-3 6-4 1-6 6-4.
The real hero of the night then was Daria Gavrilova – newly minted Green and Gold, she is a plucky fighter and partnered Kyrgios to a famous Hopman Cup victory, and scrapped her way into the fourth round with a 6-4 4-6 11-9 win. She is a giggly little charmer in press, and at the moment could well fill the void Australia for a new Aussie Battler to get behind.
With the rain having wrecked the doubles schedule, none of the Brits scheduled to play got on court as the priority was to push through the third round schedule.
Andy Murray starts the night session against Joao Sousa on Margaret Court Arena at 7pm (8am GMT) and Johanna Konta plays Denisa Allertova first on Hisense at 11am (Midnight, GMT).
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