Tiafoe pushes No. 1 Djokovic in 4-set loss; Serena, Osaka coast to third round
The 23-year-old rising American professional tennis player Frances Tiafoe entered Melbourne Park as world No. 1-ranked Novak Djokovic’s second-round opponent in the 2021 Australian Open. Tiafoe pushed the Serbian well outside his comfort zone in Melbourne, Australia, but the 17-time major winner found his groove late in a four-set win by a final score of 6-3, 6-7 (3-7), 7-6 (7-2), and 6-3.
When the match was over, Djokovic said Tiafoe “pushed me to my very limit” while praising the American’s aggressiveness, unpredictability, and Tiafoe’s ability to keep the ATP’s top-ranked player “uncomfortable.”
Both players’ attacking style was on full display in the three-and-a-half-hour match. Djokovic recorded 56 winners to 49 winners for Tiafoe while the Serbian also edged Tiafoe 26-23 in service aces. Djokovic will face another 23-year-old American, No. 27-seeded Taylor Fritz, in the third round. Fritz defeated 6-foot-11 American player Reilly Opelka in five sets by a final score of 4-6, 7-6 (8-6), 6-7 (4-7), 7-6 (7-5), and 6-2.
Meanwhile, both No. 3-seeded Naomi Osaka of Japan and tenth-seeded American star Serena Williams cruised into the third round on the women’s side of the tournament as both athletes saw their respective matches last a little more than an hour each. Osaka swept former top-five player Caroline Garcia by a final score of 6-3, 6-2, while Williams ousted 99th-seed Nina Stojanovic of Serbia in straight sets by a final margin of 6-3, 6-0.
In the third round, Osaka, 23, will square off against No. 27-seeded Ons Jabeur of Tunisia, while Williams, 39, will face 19-year-old Russian player Anastasia Potapova. For the latest updates to this year’s tournament brackets, click here. For more sports coverage, click here.