Raducanu v Rogers, Rybakina v Pliskova, Ofner v Kokkinakis: Australian Open – live | Australian Open 2024

Spread the love


Key events

Next on Laver: Richard Gasquet v Carlos Alcaraz (2).

Back on 3, Evans dumps a forehand, and Sonego takes the breaker to eight, levelling the match at one set apiece. It’s a belter, is this – if you’re able to, get it on.

Emma Raducanu beats Shelby Rogers 6-3 6-2

An excellent performance from the 2021 champ, who meets Wang Yafan next. It’s great to see her back, she properly enjoys the moment of victory, and though it’s hard to see how she beats the top three, whose power-games are probably too much, women’s tennis, though less wild than a few years ago, remains women’s tennis, so.

Excellent from Evans, who finds two colossal forehands then keeps his nerve under an overhead to save set point and make 6-6. And on the other side of the net, Sonego can’t help but smirk, enjoying the contest despite himself.

…while Raducanu serves for the match against Rogers…

Back on 3, Songeo has launched himself back into what’s a terrific breaker, making 6-5 … and now he’s serving at 6-5….

Elena Rybakina (3) beats Karolina Pliskova 7-6(6) 6-4

A decent workout for Rybakina, who looks in decent nick. She meets Blinkova next, and is a serious threat to win here.

Elena Rybakina celebrates
Elena Rybakina is through in straight sets. Photograph: Martin Keep/AFP/Getty Images

Updated at 

“Re Americans using surnames as forenames,” writes Geoff Wignall, “Washington Irving, Grover Cleveland and Franklin Roosevelt came first to mind. So it’s been happening for a while.”

I think we can perhaos allow Franklin as a first name, but yes, agreed on the others.

Pliskova holds for 6-7 4-5, forcing Rybakina to serve for it; Evans now holds a second mini-break at 6-4 6-6 (4-0); Raducanu consolidates for 6-3 5-1; and Kokkinakis and Ofner are 7-7 in their super-breaker.

Back on Laver, Rybakina makes deuce on the Pliskova serve when leading 7-6 5-3, only to burn her first match point on advantage; Evans leads Sonego 3-0 in their second-set breaker, and has played the big points really well so far today.

Sonego sends Evans to the backhand corner, then coaxes a forehand winner down the line for 0-15. So Evans finds a big serve and makes 40-15, closing out for a breaker as Raducanu scurries superbly to stay in a break point before Rogers nets, giving her the double and a 6-3 4-1 lead.

On 3, Sonego holds for 6-5, forcing Evans to serve to stay in set two for a second time; in the crowd, I Granata noise him up.

When did Americans start converting surnames to first names? Just this morning, we’ve had Shelby Rogers and Mackenzie McDonald, we’ve also got Taylor Fritz and Sloane Stephens – and these are just off the top of my heed.

Updated at 

Kokkinakis and Ofner are playing a final-set tiebreak; when they’re done, Martic and tomljanovic will be out.

Zverev closes out, levelling his match with Koepfer at a set apiece.

Alexander Zverev wins the second set
Alexander Zverev wins the second set against compatriot Dominik Koepfer. Photograph: Asanka Brendon Ratnayake/AP

Updated at 

Not in the first instance. First he goes wide with a forehand down the line, then Zverev sends him nashing out wide to open up the overhead putaway for deuce. Zverev, though, then goes long on the forehand … before finding a tremendous backhand winner from way back to make deuce again. Elsewhere, Rybakina consolidates and leads 7-6 3-2, Raducanu does likewise for 6-3 2-0, and Evans is serving at 6-4 4-5.

Superb from Koepfer! With Zverev serving for the set at 5-3, he unloads a huge forehand to find a glorious backhand angle, crosscourt, that gives him 15-40. Can he force the break-back?

Yeah, about that. At 30-40, Rybakina lands a backhand return on to the line, and Pliskova can’t retort, going long, meaning that’s a break for 7-6 2-1. Rybakina has played pretty well following a slow start, and assuming she sorts this from here, will be grateful for a decent workout. Raducanu, meanwhile, has broken Rogers after a succession of deuces, to lead her 6-3 1-0, and isn’t it great to see her back, enjoying her tennis.

Sonego is from Turin and has Torino fans supporting him in the arena – he played for them as a kid before choosing tennis at 13. He trails Dan Evans 6-4 3-4 but it’s a very serious battle, likewise on Laver where Pliskova hasn’t crumbled – and let’s be real, she has before – after ceding a set she might well have won. Rybakina leads her 7-6 1-1, and it’s tight.

Rogers floats a backhand long and that’s a love hold which gives Raducanu a 6-3 set. Meantime, Koepfer might finally have wilted, Zverev breaking him to trail 4-6 4-2.

Emma Raducanu
Emma Raducanu takes an excellent opening set 6-3. Photograph: Edgar Su/Reuters

Updated at 

Raducanu is now serving for the set at 5-3 and bottom line, she’s a little underpowered but is way more skilled than Rogers, a solid pro but no more. Meantime, Evans trails Sonego 2-3 on serve having won the first set 6-4, and it’s a really fun match.

Ach, Pliskova will be feeling exceedingly poorly. She sends a forehand long, loses a breaker she dominated, and will have to dig deep to rebound within 90 seconds. Rybakina leads 7-6(6)!

Oh wow, Rybakina saves the first when, deceived by a net-cord, she flicks a gorgeous backhand volley – one-handed – across the face of the net for a gorgeous winner. Pliskova then drops long on the forehand … before Rybakina goes big on the second serve, wears a big return, and slams an inside-out forehand on to the outside of the line! Both players have now saved three set points, and when Rybakina spanks a service-winner down the T, she leads 7-6!

Pliskova, who’s saved three set points, finds that at 6-3, she has three of her own and all in a row row row! Ca she convert?

And it’s Pliskova who makes the first mini-break, consolidated with another ace, then a fine return incites Rybakina to net on the backhand! This is good stuff from the vet, who now leads 5-2.

Raducanu consolidates for 4-1; Pliskova hangs on for that breaker thanks in part to a further ace. I don’t fancy her chances, but if she serves as she can, she can do it.

Updated at 

Raducanu raises three break points at 2-1 0-40, while Rybakina makes 6-5 0-30. And the booming forehand proves too much for Pliskova, forcing her to go long at 15-30; Pliskova saves the first set point with a typical ace down the T … and the second when Rybakina’s attempted backhand winner down the line falls narrowly wide. Raducanu, meanwhile, seals the break for 3-1 in the first, then Rybakina burns another set point, swiping wide on advantage. It does, though, feel like a matter of time even if she needs a breaker.

Emma Raducanu returns a serve
Emma Raducanu has started strongly in the opening set. Photograph: Julian Finney/Getty Images

Updated at 

At the end of a long rally, Evans goes line with a big forehand, straying wide, just; 0-15 and pressure! But he levels it up with a slam-dunk smash, a big forehand forces Sonego to float long for 40-15, and here come two more set points, this time on his own serve. And he only needs one, a backhand return looping long, and he leads 6-4!

Both Sonego and Pliskova hang in their sets, so Evans will now serve for it at 5-4.

I watch a lot of tennis and I’m not certain I’m familiar with Koepfer, a 29-year-old journeyman. So he’s a lefty who’s reached the second round in Melbourne, the third in Paris and at Wimbledon and the fourth in New York.

Rdaucanu and Rogers are 1-1, while Pliskova is serving at 4-5 30-all, seeking to stay in set one and Koepfer has just served out to lead Zverev, the number six seed, 6-4.

Evans is playing well, leading Sonego 5-3 15-30 and, as I type, a forehand drops wide raising two set points. Sonego saves the first with a forehand winner, then the second, but he’s second0best so far.

In comms on the Rybakina game, Tim Henman admits that if he was coaching a young player now, though in his day a single-handed backhand was deemed the right way and looks better, a double is more effective. And he’s right, too – our resident coach, Calvin Betton, feels very strongly about this because how many top players use one? Er, none apart from Tsitsipas, who’s now getting victimised on that wing.

Updated at 

Rybakina is the better player now, leading Pliskova 4-3, on serve, while on Cain, local favourite Thnasi Kokkinakis, has forced a decider against Sebastian Ofner, taking the fourth set 6-1.

Elena Rybakina
Elena Rybakina is currently leading Karolina Pliskova in their opening set on Rod Laver. Photograph: Issei Kato/Reuters

Updated at 

On Court, Koepfer has broken Zverev and leads 3-2; Raducanu and Rogers are knocking up and remember these two met in round four in 2021; the Brit won 1 and 2 en route to taking the title. What a wow that was.

Rybakina has broken Pliskova back for 2-2, while Evans leads Sonego by a break. On him, I understand that he thinks he’ll win, but he’s 0-2 against Sonega when fully fit, and he’s not fully fit. He’s not injured but last week in Adelaide he was gassed after about 45 mins in both matches. He only got through the first round because his opponent served three doubles at 5-5 in the second, he’s had no pre season because he popped his calf in the last event of last year so only got back playing at Xmas, and you can’t replicate match fitness. But so far, he was right because he’s playing nicely.

Next on 1573 arena: Emma Raducanu v Shelby Rogers.

Shang is still out there and all. Enjoy it, young man.

Jerry Shang, though – the boy is a superstar. To last five sets against a seasoned pro like McDonald, to come back from 2-1 down, to see it out like that? Oof marone! And he’ll fancy himself to win the next round too – and if he does, Carlos Alcaraz most likely awaits. Tasty!

Jerry Shang
We take full credit if he wins the tournament. Photograph: Louise Delmotte/AP

Updated at 

Jerry Shang beats Mackenzie McDonald 6-3 1-6 3-6 6-4 6-2

He meets the Indian qualifier, Sumit Nagal next; he got rid of Alexander Bublik, the number 31 seed.

I’ve switched off Zverev because Jerry Shang, the young, flamboyant Chinese picked as one to watch by your super soaraway Guardian, is serving for the match at 5-2 in the fifth against Mackenzie McDonald….

Well now! Pliskova breaks Rybakina in game one, and that’ll give a notoriously fragile player a bit of confidence. It’s still hard to see how she wins here, but if she hits a seam she can make it happen.

On Court, Zverev and Koepfer are away – I’m watching that match too, so if anyone has some spare eyes I’d be glad to borrow them.

What’s happened already today? Cam Norrie and Jack Draper are through, the latter winning sets four and five 6-0 6-2 against Marcos Giron, which tells us plenty about his fitness and mentality.

The elegant Sloane Stephens and the improving Daria Kasatkina are through too, likewise Griggzy Dimitrov, Jelena Ostapenko and Danielle collins, who binned Angelique Kerber.

Jack Draper
Jack Draper overcame the heat in Melbourne to defeat Marcos Giron on five sets. Photograph: James Gourley/Shutterstock

Updated at 

On Court 3, Evans and Sonego are knocking up while, on Laver, Rybakins and Pliskova emerge.

Katie Boulter beats Yue Yuan 7-5 7-6(1)

She meets Qinwen Zheng (12) or Ashlyn Kruger next, and that’s a terrific win; Boulter has stepped up a level the last year or so, and though she lacks a significant weapon, her all-round game is in shape.

Katie Boulter
Katie Boulter eases into round two, with a straight sets victory over Yue Yuan. Photograph: Lukas Coch/AAP

Updated at 

Preamble

G’day, and welcome to the day three evening session of the Australian Open – 2024!

We’ve got a serious quantity of tennis for you and no mistake. Still to get going from afternoon shift, we’ve got Emma Raducanu v Shelby Rogers and Dan Evans v Lorenzo Sonego – not bad – and bonus Katie Boulter, about to clinch her passage into round two.

Meantime, on Laver and Court, we’ve two matches about to begin – Elena Rybakina v Karolina Pliskova and Alexander Zverev v Dominik Koepfer – while on Cain, Petra Martic takess on Ajla Tomljanovic. And when they’re done, we’ll enjoy Richard Gasquet v Carlos Alcaraz along with Rebecca Marino v Jessica Pegula or, put another way, if that isn’t fair dinkum I don’t know what is.

Updated at 



Source link