Zhang's dream run continues, Muguruza and Ivanovic advance

Tom Allnutt 21/01/2016
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Zhang's run has been remarkable.

Zhang arrived in Melbourne having lost 14 consecutive first round matches at major tournaments.

She broke down in tears after ending that run with a stunning win over world number two Simona Halep on Tuesday and then followed it up with another victory, beating world number 33 Cornet 6-3 6-3.

Zhang, ranked 133rd in the world, will now face American Varvara Lepchenko in round three and she is eager for her Melbourne fairytale to continue.

“(It’s) Like a dream come true,” Zhang said.

“But I’m looking forward (to the) next match, yeah. I don’t want stop right now. I want to keep winning.

Zhang was a deserving winner on Court 2 as she broke Cornet’s serve five times in the match and hit 18 winners to the Frenchwoman’s seven.

“I lost 14 times (in the) first round. Maybe because (it was) 14 times, (it) gave me a lot more energy to work hard,” Zhang said. “I’ve won five matches already. I want to (say) thanks for last 14 times, yeah.”

Elsewhere, Ana Ivanovic was left badly shaken when an elderly spectator fell on a flight of stairs during her third-round match, delaying play for almost 30 minutes as she received medical treatment.

The Serbian 20th seed, who eventually beat Latvian qualifier Anastasija Sevastova 6-3, 6-3, said she froze when the sound of the spectator’s fall rang through Rod Laver Arena.

“Actually it was — well, first I felt really bad. I was really shaking, because the sound of the lady falling was really loud. I could hear it,” she said of the incident at 4-3 in the first set.

“I stopped immediately. It was really unfortunate, but, I mean, it was the same for both of us.”

Also into the third round of a grand slam for the first time is Japan’s Naomi Osaka, who upset the odds to knock out 18th seed Elina Svitolina.

The 18-year-old Osaka is one of the most exciting talents on the tour and she will now go up against 14th seed Victoria Azarenka.

“I just wanted to qualify. That’s all I was expecting,” Osaka said. “I never feel pressure from playing someone that’s supposed to be like better than me. I’m just going to go in there happy and hopefully try to pull off an upset.”

Third seed Garbine Muguruza is also through, along with seventh seed Angelique Kerber and 15th seed Madison Keys.

Jelena Jankovic of Serbia, however, is out. The former world number one lost in three sets to Germany’s Laura Siegemund.

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Reem's diary: Fashion mishaps the talk of Melbourne Park

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Sleeveless faux-pas: Dimitrov.

Outfits are always a hot topic in tennis, especially at the majors and spotting the fashion hits and misses is probably every spectator’s favourite pastime.

After debuting his unfortunate sleeveless look on opening day, Grigor Dimitrov wisely switched to a regular t-shirt on Wednesday in his second round and it’s possible the hilarious reaction on the internet is what drove him to rectify the situation – at least we hope so.

After seeing Eugenie Bouchard’s dress/top – it’s very difficult to figure out what it was – one journalist joked that Dimitrov actually loaned his sleeveless shirt to wear for her match own match on Wednesday. You know, keeping it in the Nike family and all that.

Familiar?: Eugenie Bouchard's shirt-dress.

Familiar?: Eugenie Bouchard’s shirt-dress.

But on a more serious note, Nick Kyrgios suffered some short-related drama during his second-round match with Pablo Cuevas as they were apparently too small for him and were hindering his performance. The young Aussie had to change his shorts mid-match and sounded quite stressed about it after his victory.

“It was an absolute circus,” Kyrgios said. “I’m not going to talk too much about it, but it was just a massive mix up and that’s just part of the challenges you face.”

Can you imagine losing a match because your shorts were too tight? Luckily, Kyrgios didn’t have to find out.

Serena’s TV talk

Serena Williams found the sneakiest way to plug her friend Eva Longoria’s new TV show, ‘Telenovela’, while dodging a question about why her sister Venus skipped her mandatory post-match press conference on Tuesday, which saw the American veteran fined a record $5,000 for the offence.

“I don’t know. If you want to, you can ask her… In fact, I was watching Telenovela. I’m coming apart, though. Do we have any more questions?” said Serena.

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Kvitova sent crashing out of Aus Open by local hope Gavrilova

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Petra Kvitova hasn't made it to the second week of the Australian Open since 2012.

Petra Kvitova is mystified by her poor Australian Open results in recent years after the world No7 was sent packing by 21-year-old Daria Gavrilova in the second round on Wednesday.

The Czech two-time Wimbledon champion has now made a first-week exit on her last four trips to Melbourne – her 6-4, 6-4 defeat to Gavrilova the latest in a stream of tough losses for Kvitova Down Under.

The Russian-born Gavrilova, who officially became an Aussie a few weeks ago, had lost their only previous encounter in three tight sets in Wuhan last September. But the support of the home crowd helped keep her on point against the sixth-seeded Kvitova as she completed her 89-minute victory.

Kvitova had been ill this month which forced her to skip her title defence in Sydney. Her two matches in Melbourne were her first completed ones of the year.

Asked if her lack of match play affected her readiness for someone as tough as Gavrilova, Kvitova said: “I felt good in the first round but it wasn’t as physically tough as today. I really had to move well today, which I didn’t. And I think it wasn’t just about the matches; when I was ill I couldn’t really do what I wanted, physically and tennis as well, so that’s why I think I was a little bit struggling,” said Kvitova, who recently got engaged to hockey player Radek Meidl.

The match saw a combined eight service breaks and Kvitova hit a whopping 35 unforced errors to just 17 winners.

When questioned about why she hasn’t been doing well in Melbourne in recent years – she was a semi-finalist in 2012 but has done poorly since – Kvitova said: “If I know, I will tell you, but I don’t know. I’m not pretty sure why. I wish I could play well, but I think it’s still a lot of work ahead of me and if I’m not really ready for that, it’s really no chance to play well. So I have to be ready for these kind of battles.”

Meanwhile, reigning WTA Finals champion Agnieszka Radwanska produced a clinical display to come through a difficult second round against ex-world No5 Eugenie Bouchard.

The fourth-seeded Radwanska needed 83 minutes to complete a 6-4, 6-2 win over the Canadian on Rod Laver Arena in what was a high-quality affair throughout.

“That was a great challenge for me to play somebody like Eugenie in the second round. But I think I was doing everything right today. That’s why I win that match in two sets. Definitely not an easy draw,” said Radwanska, who next faces Monica Puig of Puerto Rico in the third round.

Puig survived a record 31 aces from Kristyna Pliskova – the most ever hit in a women’s match – and saved match points en route to a battling 4-6, 7-6(6), 9-7.

On what it was like to be on the receiving end of 31 aces, Puig said: “It’s not very fun, I’m just going to say it’s very frustrating. She served unbelievable, I just had to try and find any little window of opportunity to try and break her serve because it was nearly impossible. I just fought as hard as I could, just ran every single ball… I left my heart on the court so that’s really important.”

Earlier, No5 seed Maria Sharapova eased past Aliaksandra Sasnovich 6-2, 6-1 to book a third round with American Lauren Davis.

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