Australian Open Day 4 recap: Murray, Wawrinka cruise; Hewitt's career ends
Catch up on all of the action, news and results from Day 4 at the 2016 Australian Open on Thursday that you may have missed while you were sleeping.
Murray, Azarenka, Muguruza continue to cruise
No. 2-seed Andy Murray improved his perfect record against Australian opponents to 17-0 on Thursday, defeating Sam Groth 6–0, 6–4, 6–1 in just 91 minutes.
“There's some things I certainly could have done better today. I could have served better, for sure. I didn't serve a high percentage of first serves,” Murray said after the match. “And from the back of the court, maybe because I wasn't hitting loads of balls, I wasn't hitting the ball from the back of the court as well as I did against Zverev. But a lot of things went well, too. The movement was good, anticipation. I felt like I closed the match out well. It's been a very good start, for sure. But I can still get better, I think.”
Victoria Azarenka has dropped only three games in Melbourne, continuing her strong form on Thursday with a 6–1, 6–2 victory over Danka Kovinic.
“I'm just really trying to stay in the moment. And I do want to keep improving from match to match,” the No. 14-seeded Belarusian said after the match. “It's just only going to get tougher, so I really want to keep that focus and that intensity and that determination. Really that's what I'm looking for, to keep applying the same effort, and pay attention to details in preparation before the match.”
No. 3-seed Garbine Muguruza is also into the third round, beating Kirsten Flipkens 6–4, 6–2. Muguruza will next play Barbora Strycova, who beat American Vania King 7–6(5), 6–4, and will look to match her fourth-round appearance in 2015, where she lost to Serena Williams.
More than half of women’s seeds out
No. 19-seed Jelena Jankovic was yet another seeded player to fall before the second week of the Australian Open, losing 3–6, 7–6, 6–4 to Germany’s Laura Siegemund.
Denisa Allertova also ousted No. 30-seed Sabine Lisicki 6–3, 2–6, 6–4 on Thursday and Naomi Osaka sent home No. 18-seed Elina Svitolina 6–4, 6–4. After playing through qualifying, the 18-year-old has shown impressive in Melbourne.
“I have seen her play,” Serena said on Monday. “She's really young and really aggressive. She's a really good, talented player. Extremely young. Very dangerous.”
Osaka will play Azarenka in the third round on Saturday.
Hewitt's singles career comes to an end
Lleyton Hewitt's career finally came to an end on Rod Laver on Thursday night. No. 8-seed David Ferrer beat the Aussie 6–2, 6–4, 6–4 in his 20th and final Australian Open. (Hewitt is still in the doubles competition.) Here's what some of the players and other people around the sport had to say after Hewitt's final match:
Read more about Hewitt's final match and his career here.
Wawrinka eases into third round: Stan Wawrinka earned his 30th Australian Open match win on Thursday, defeating Radek Stepanek 6–2, 6–3, 6–4.
Isner wins in straights: No. 10-seed John Isner advanced to the third round of the Australian Open for the fifth time in his career on Thursday, beating Marcel Granollers 6–3, 7–6, 7–6. He has only been past the third round once in Melbourne (2010) and next faces Feliciano Lopez, who he lost to in the third round in 2012.
Nadal's conqueror Verdasco can’t back up win: Fernando Verdasco was unable follow up on his upset over No. 5-seed Rafael Nadal on Tuesday, falling to Dudi Sela 4–6, 6–3, 6–3, 7–6(4). Was Verdasco a victim of the “Rafa curse” in Melbourne? With Verdasco’s loss, only six of the 27 players who have beaten Nadal prior to a final since start of 2013 have gone on to win the next match.
Raonic keeps rollin’: Milos Raonic has had a strong start to his 2016 season. After defeating Roger Federer in Brisbane to win the title, Raonic is now into the third round in Melbourne, defeating veteran Tommy Robredo 7–6 6), 7–6(5), 7–5. He’ll next play Serbian Viktor Troicki, who beat American Tim Smyczek in straight sets on Thursday.
Keys toughs out another victory: Madison Keys came back to defeat Yaroslava Shvedova 6–7, 6–3, 6–3, hitting 34 winners, 32 unforced errors and five aces to seal the win. Keys made it to semifinals in Melbourne last year, where she lost to eventual champion Serena Williams. In the third round 15th-seeded Keys will face No. 20-seed Ana Ivanovic , who beat Anastasija Sevastova 6–3, 6–3 on Thursday.
Zhang backs up her big win over Halep: After shocking No. 2-seed Simona Halep in the first round, Shuai Zhang followed up her win and took down Alize Cornet 6–3, 6–3 to advance to the third round. The Chinese qualifier was 0–14 in Grand Slams before her win against Halep and she even contemplated retirement after the U.S. Open in September.
Q. Does this feel like a dream to you?
ZHANG SHUAI: Yeah, yeah, like a dream come true. But I'm looking forward next match, yeah. I don't want stop right now. I want to keep win.
More notable results: Konta d. Zheng 6–2, 6–3; Lepchenko d. Arruabarrena 7–6, 6–4; Robert d. Ram 6–1, 6–7, 4–6, 7–5, 7–5; Troicki d. Smyczek 6–4, 7–6, 7–6; Brengle d. Larsson 7–5, 4–6, 6–1; Kerber d. Dulgheru 6–2, 6–4; Rosol d. Sock 7–6, 7–6, 6–3