By Alessandro Mastroluca
- Caroline Wozniacki’s career ended as she lost to Ons Jabeur
- Serena Williams suffered her earliest defeat in Melbourne since 2006, while Coco Gauff stunned defending champion Naomi Osaka
- Roger Federer was two points away from defeat before beating John Millman in a tense deciding set tie-break. He’s the first player to reach 100 Australian Open wins
MELBOURNE, Australia – In a packed day, Wozniacki put an end to her career while Serena suffered her earliest defeat in Melbourne since 2006.
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Roger Federer went two points away from the deciding tie-break against John Millman who had already upset him at the 2018 Us Open. Finishing the match at 12:35 a.m. local time, the Swiss maestro sealed a 4-6 7-6(2) 6-4 4-6 7-6(8) win to become the first player to reach 100 wins here. Federer, now owning a 39-3 record against opponents at their home Grand Slams, broke his three-match losing streak in fifth sets. In the fourth round, he will meet Marton Fucsovics, who dismissed Tommy Paul and became the first Hungarian player, man or woman, to reach the round of 16 here on multiple occasions.
For the second consecutive edition, Marin Cilic had to face a five-setter against Roberto Bautista Agut at the Australian Open. The 2018 runner-up avenged last season’s loss with a 6-7(3) 6-4 6-0 5-7 6-3 victory, sealing his 32nd five-set win to 17 defeats. The Croat delivered 76 winners to move to the fourth round at Melbourne Park for the seventh time, the 24th in a major event. Cilic is in 7th place among active players on the list for the most round-16 appearances at the Grand Slams.
American teenager Coco Gauff stunned defending champion Naomi Osaka 6-3 6-4 making 17 unforced errors to the Japanese’s 30. Gauff, losing in the first round in the junior tournament two years ago, looks like the favourite to reach the semifinals in his section of the main draw featuring Shuai Zhang or Sofia Kenin, Ons Jabeur and Qiang Wang. Gauff is the first 15-year-old to reach the fourth round of two Grand Slams since Martina Hingis in 1996. Her maiden Top-5 win should propel her into the Top 50 for the first time in her career.
Serena Williams definitely made too many errors to survive against the No.27 seed Wang who claimed a 6-4 6-7(2) 7-5 win. Serena dropped just 15 points against the Chinese when they met in the quarter-finals at the 2019 US Open. Wang, who posted wins over wildcard Pauline Parmentier and No.63 Fiona Ferro in the first two rounds, completed her third victory in five matches against Top 10 opponents at Grand Slams.
Caroline Wozniacki played her last professional match. Her 15-year career ended with a 7-5 3-6 7-5 defeat by Tunisia’s Jabeur. Australian Open tournament director Craig Tiley presented her a toy koala bear and tears came down when her father walked on to share her most emotional moment. Finally, the whole 10,500 crowd appropriately serenaded Neil Diamond’s pop classic ‘Sweet Caroline’. Jabeur became the first Arab woman to reach the fourth round in a major.
The 2019 semifinalist Stefanos Tsitsipas was suffocated by Milos Raonic‘s superior power on serve. The Canadian took a deserved 7-5 6-4 7-6(2) win in Margaret Court Arena firing 19 aces and winning 88% of first-serve points. Raonic, extremely solid off the backhand side, never faced a breakpoint throughout the match and marched towards his seventh fourth-round here in ten Australian Open appearances. Last year here, Raonic reached the quarterfinals. To repeat that result, he will have to beat Cilic, the 2018 Australian Open runner-up.
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Inspired by coach Goran Ivanisevic, Novak Djokovic played one of his best serving matches he had lately and quickly dismissed Japanese Yoshihito Nishioka 6-3 6-2 6-2 to reach the round 16 for the 50th time in 60 majors. Next up for the seven-time champion is No. 14 seed Diego Schwartzman, who beat No. 24 seed Dusan Lajovic and battled hard against Djokovic in their last two meetings.
Marathon man Fabio Fognini booked his place in the second week after an anti-climactic straight-sets success over Argentinian Guido Pella. The Italian, the first player to win back-to-back Australian Open matches in final-set tiebreaks, beat the lefty South-American 7-6(0) 6-2 6-3 and equaled his best result at the opening Grand Slam of the year.
The 2019 Monte-Carlo champion can improve it by beating Tennys Sandgren, who moved one victory away from reaching the Australian Open quarter-finals for the second time in three years (2018). World No. 100 drilled 35 winners in a 6-4 6-4 6-4 victory over fellow American Sam Querrey. In 2018, on his Australian Open debut, he defeated No. 9 seed Stan Wawrinka, and No. 5 seed Dominic Thiem en route to the last 8. Ranked No, 97, he became the lowest-ranked Australian Open quarter-finalist since No. 105 Mikael Tillstrom in 1996.
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