Heather Watson breezes into round two, weary Dan Evans crashes out and Caroline Wozniacki left miffed at time waster – FIVE THINGS YOU MISSED FROM AUSTRALIAN OPEN DAY THREE
- Heather Watson progressed but Dan Evans was knocked out on day three of play
- Defending champion Naomi Osaka set up a mouthwatering tie with Coco Gauff
- Caroline Wozniacki was left a little annoyed at some of her opponent’s tactics
- Sportsmail’s Tennis Correspondent Mike Dickson rounds up the day’s big stories
The Australian Open continued apace on Wednesday with several big names booking their place in the next round. Novak Djokovic, Ashleigh Barty and Petra Kvitova were all victorious at Melbourne Park.
It was a mixed day for British players though as Dan Evans crashed out against Yoshihito Nishioka while Heather Watson made it through in tough conditions.
Here, Sportsmail’s Tennis Correspondent Mike Dickson rounds up some of the things you may have missed from day three of action in Melbourne.
Heather Watson made it through to round two at the Australian Open on Wednesday
Watson breezes into round two
Andy Murray (brought up in Scotland) and Rafael Nadal (brought up on Mallorca) are among those who consider themselves decent players in the wind, and so does Heather Watson.
The British number two emulated Harriet Dart by coming back from a set down to beat Kristyna Pliskova 4-6, 6-3, 6-1 in strange conditions that were both extremely windy and cloyingly humid.
After a nervous start Watson handled the tricky environment far better and the lesser-known of the Czech twins, ranked 62, looked thoroughly non-plussed by the end. Watson felt that her island experiences, both recently and in her childhood, were a factor.
The British number two beat Kristyna Pliskova 4-6, 6-3, 6-1 in strange conditions in Melbourne
‘It was super windy today, I feel sort of prepared because it was like that in Hobart a lot of the days last week,’ said Watson. ‘It’s very windy on Guernsey, I don’t mind the wind at all. I like it and the way I play – slice, dropshots, and change of pace balls I think it works well in the wind and I’m patient.’
She now faces Belgian number one Elise Mertens, who she narrowly defeated last week in Hobart.
Nishioka’s speed too much for weary Evans
A strenuous trip to Australia for Dan Evans came to a disappointing end when he was beaten 6-4, 6-3, 6-4 by speedy baseliner Yoshihito Nishioka.
The Japanese number two plays with a metronomic efficiency using his extreme mobility to get to every ball, and on this occasion Evans, who looked slightly weary, could not find a way past his southpaw opponent.
He misses out on a third round meeting against Novak Djokovic, but taken in the round can look back on a decent start to the season with his contributions at the ATP cup and a quarter final in Adelaide.
Evans admitted that he was second best on the day, and that he was hoping the Japanese would lose his first round. ‘But overall it’s been a good trip,’ said Evans, who added that he was unlikely to play the Olympics this summer, and will stick with regular ATP events in the US.
A weary Dan Evans was beaten 6-4, 6-3, 6-4 by speedy Japanese baseliner Yoshihito Nishioka
Dart set for the bright lights
Harriet Dart discovered that she will have another big date in a big stadium on Thursday night (8am UK time) when she faces Wimbledon champion Simona Halep on the Rod Laver Arena.
The 23 year-old from Middlesex will be hoping it goes better than when she played her first round on the same court a year ago, which resulted in a 6-0, 6-0 defeat at the hands of Maria Sharapova.
Judging by how she played in her first main draw proper Grand Slam win outside Wimbledon it is hard to see a repeat of that.
Harriet Dart has a big date in a big stadium when she faces Simona Halep on Rod Laver Arena
Osaka given false hope of reaching No 1
The on court interviews at the Australian Open usually throw up the odd clanger and embarrassment, and defending champion Naomi Osaka, currently ranked number four, was surprised to be told by Australian TV that she would be the world number one if she wins the title this fortnight.
Given that she scored maximum points a year ago from winning the event that is a mathematical impossibility.
She has more pressing things on her mind for now as in the third round she has a repeat of her US Open draw against Coco Gauff, who battled hard to beat experienced Romanian Sorana Cirstea 4-6, 6-3, 7-5.
In her three Grand Slams played the 15 year-old has never been off one of the main show courts, and that run will not be coming to an end for this match.
Naomi Osaka was surprised to be told she would be the world No 1 if she wins the title
Wozniacki miffed at time waster
At 5-1 down in the first set to rising young Ukrainian Dayana Yastremska it appeared that Caroline Wozniacki’s career might be over, as she is retiring after this tournament.
But the Dane recovered to win 7-5, 7-5 and stay on course for a possible fourth round match against her great friend Serena Williams. Wozniacki was unhappy at her opponent taking a medical timeout for treatment on her thigh at 5-4 in the second set when the momentum was on her side.
Yastremska, 19, has acquired an unhealthy reputation for doing such things.
‘Obviously she tried to break my rhythm,’ said Wozniacki. ‘And at 5-4 I don’t think there is anything wrong. She was running just fine. So that’s a trick that she’s done before, and I knew that it was coming. I was just trying to stay focused.’
Caroline Wozniacki was unhappy with Dayana Yastremska taking a medical timeout at 5-4 up
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