Photo: Corinne DubreuilGael Monfils (FRA)
France’s Gael Monfils booked his place in the third round at the Australian Open after coming through a tough encounter against Yen-Hsun Lu (TPE) 76 46 06 61 86.
The former world No. 7 is beginning to show a return to form after being kept off the tour for four months in 2012 with a knee injury. He needed three hours 37 minutes to dispose of Lu under the searing Melbourne sun which saw temperatures hit 40 degrees. The match wasn’t without drama as Monfils hit 23 double faults, including four on match point.
Monfils will face compatriot Gilles Simon in the third round on Saturday after Simon defeated Canada’s Jesse Levine 26 63 76 62 on court 6. France has six men through to the third round after Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, Richard Gasquet and Jeremy Chardy also won their second round matches to join Julien Benneteau in the last 32.
World No. 2 Roger Federer (SUI) produced a routine victory over Russia’s Nikolay Davydenko to set up a third round clash with home favourite Bernard Tomic, and US Open champion Andy Murray (GBR) saw off Joao Sousa (POR) in straight sets and will now face Ricardas Berankis (LTU) on Saturday.
"I served well too. I got a lot of free points off my serve. There were very few long rallies, so it worked out well for me because they were really, really tough conditions," said Murray.
On the women’s side the top seeds were in scintillating form. Defending champion Victoria Azarenka (BLR) dropped just one game in her 61 60 demolition of Greece’s Eleni Daniilidou, while Serena Williams (USA) lost just two games against Garbine Muguruza (ESP).
“I felt really good, I enjoyed a lot the way I was focused,” explained Azarenka. “I was definitely something that I stepped it up from my first match, and I was in the zone trying to execute all of my shots. I was trying to make everything happen, and that's what I'm happy about."
Former Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova (CZE) didn't have such an easy time and finally succumbed to British youngster Laura Robson 26 63 119 at around 12.30am.
Forty-two-year-old Kimiko Date-Krumm (JPN) continued her impressive run at Melbourne Park, overcoming Shahar Peer (ISR) 62 75 to set up a third round match against Bojana Jovanovski (SRB), who ended No. 17 Lucie Safarova’s (CZE) campaign.