World number ones Andy Murray and Angelique Kerber and four-time winner Roger Federer are in action on day three of the Australian Open in Melbourne. In first round doubles, the Williams sisters begin their campaign.Five-time finalist and current world number one, Andy Murray has yet to win the singles title in Melbourne. He takes on rising talent Andrey Rublev on Wednesday night. The 19-year-old Russian is in the main draw of a Grand Slam for the first time in his career after he came through the qualifying competition and beat Yen-Hsun Lu in a four-set first-round win on Monday.
“I never hit with him or played against him, but I’ve seen him play before and he goes for it,” Murray said of his opponent who is ranked 152 in the world. “He doesn’t hold back. He hits a big ball.” The two play their match on the Rod Laver Arena on Wednesday night.
Women’s defending champion and world number one Angelique Kerber was taken to three sets in her first round match against Lesia Tsurenko after the German lost a match point and had to play a tense deciding set. In an all-German second round encounter, Kerber plays Carina Witthoeft.
“I know her very well,” Kerber said of Witthoeft who is ranked 89 in the world. “I think it will be a good match,” Kerber said. “For me it’s important to go out there playing my match again, not thinking too much about my opponent.” Germany’s Mona Barthel takes on reigning Olympic champion Monica Puig in a challenging second-round match.
Four-time former champion Roger Federer plays 20-year-old American Noah Rubin who came through qualifying to make the main draw, beating Bjorn Fratageno in five sets on Monday. “I know he’s a baseliner. He makes a lot of shots,” Federer said. “I guess it’s not a bad thing for me. I know it’s probably more on my racquet rather than playing a big server.”
Federer’s fellow Swiss, Stan Wawrinka was taken to five sets in his first round match. The 2014 champion plays 27-year-old Californian Steve Johnson who was briefly the top-ranked US player in August last year.
Australian Nick Kyrgios lost only five games as he took 84 minutes to beat Gasto Elias in his first round match. He was suspended from the tennis circuit in October after he walked off the court while his match against Mischa Zverev was still being played and became embroiled in a heated argument with a fan during the defeat at the Shanghai Masters. The controversial player issued a statement at the time of the ban saying “I do understand and respect the decision by the ATP and I will use this time off to improve on and off the court. I am truly sorry and look forward to returning in 2017.”
After being taken to five sets in his first round match, fifth seed Kei Nishikori plays France’s Jeremy Chardy who has beaten the Japanese player twice in the six matches the two have played.
Playing the Australian Open for the 17th time, Venus Williams has a busy day. In second-round singles she takes on Switzerland’s Stefanie Voegele in the first match on the Rod Laver Area before joining her sister Serena in a first-round doubles match.
Serena and Venus Williams first played the doubles competition in 1998 when they reached the third round.They take on Timea Babos of Hungary and her Russian partner Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova at the start of their campaign to win the title for the fifth time.
jm/se (Reuters, AP)