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Top seeds Andy Murray and Angelique Kerber each progressed to the third round of the 2017 Australian Open on Wednesday, but Nick Kyrgios’ spectacular implosion from two sets up saw him exit at the hands of Andreas Seppi, and Dan Evans beat Marin Cilic in four sets.
Murray eased past Andrey Rublev while Kerber again needed three sets, beating Carina Witthoft 6-2, 6-7 (3), 6-2. Kyrgios’ latest controversy stole the show, however, as he suffered an on-court meltdown midway through his match to allow Seppi to win 1-6, 6-7 (1), 6-4, 6-2, 10-8, and Evans stunned Cilic after losing the opening set.
Meanwhile, fourth and fifth seeds Stan Wawrinka and Kei Nishikori progressed as they beat Steve Johnson and Jeremy Chardy, respectively, with Garbine Muguruza and Svetlana Kuznetsova among the top women’s seeds to go through.
Here are some of the key results from Wednesday’s action in Melbourne:
|(1) Andy Murray bt. Andrey Rublev||6-3, 6-0, 6-2|
|(17) Roger Federer bt. Noah Rubin||7-5, 6-3, 7-6 (3)|
|(5) Kei Nishikori bt. Jeremy Chardy||6-3, 6-4, 6-3|
|(4) Stan Wawrinka bt. Steve Johnson||6-3, 6-4, 6-4|
|Andreas Seppi bt. (14) Nick Kyrgios||1-6, 6-7 (1), 6-4, 6-2, 10-8|
|Dan Evans bt. (7) Marin Cilic||3-6, 7-5, 6-3, 6-3|
|(1) Angelique Kerber bt. Carina Witthoft||6-2, 6-7 (3), 6-2|
|Sorana Cirstea bt. (10) Carla Suarez Navarro||7-6 (1), 6-3|
|(7) Garbine Muguruza bt. Sam Crawford||7-5, 6-4|
|(8) Svetlana Kuznetsova bt. Jaimee Fourlis||6-2, 6-1|
For full Wednesday results, visit the Australian Open website.
All was going well for Kyrgios as he raced to the first two sets against Seppi, but the match quickly changed when the Italian went a break up late in the third, per Eurosport UK:
Uh-oh…it’s happening again!@NickKyrgios smashes his racket during match against Seppi 😠 #AusOpen
WATCH: https://t.co/NlfHKSzpdw pic.twitter.com/bL66qT7jHP
— Eurosport UK (@Eurosport_UK) January 18, 2017
From there he allowed Seppi to regain a foothold by pulling the third set back and then play his way back into the match in the fourth with relative ease.
Sports writer Dan Clark was unimpressed with 14th seed Kyrgios:
In my opinion, Nick #Kyrgios has, without a doubt, one of the worst attitudes I’ve ever seen in professional sports… #AusOpen
— Dan Clark (@DanClarkSports) January 18, 2017
Roared on by the partisan home crowd, the Australian regained some measure of composure in the hard-fought, thrilling fifth set, in which he even earned a match point following a late exchange of breaks, but he was unable to convert at 7-8.
A Kyrgios double-fault in the following game handed Seppi a second break, and the Italian then sealed his victory with an ace.
Evans’ day was memorable for all the right reasons as he fought back to upset seventh seed Cilic, who put in a mixed performance—per the Open’s official website, he hit 14 aces and 55 winners, but cancelled them out with 69 unforced errors.
BBC Sport’s David Law praised Evans’ resilience:
Dan Evans. One thing often overlooked behind his stylish tennis & cheeky-chap personality – he’s a fighter. Comes alive in a scrap.
— DavidLaw (@DavidLawTennis) January 18, 2017
Meanwhile, Murray barely needed to break a sweat as he dispatched Rublev with consummate ease, the 19-year-old perhaps a little overawed by the occasion and his opponent.
Roger Federer also needed just three sets to see off Noah Rubin, though the American qualifier did give the Swiss star something of a scare in the third set with an early break.
As the New York Times‘ Christopher Clarey noted, Federer has a tough task ahead if he’s to progress much further in the tournament:
Such a nasty draw for Fed from here: Berdych then likely Nishikori then likely Murray, then perhaps Wawrinka, Kyrgios or Cilic, then Djoko?
— Christopher Clarey (@christophclarey) January 18, 2017
In the women’s draw, defending champion Kerber was taken to three sets for the second time as Witthoft fought back in the second, although the German failed to trouble her compatriot in the third.
Muruguza will join her in the third round after she saw off Samantha Crawford. Tennis writer Ben Rothenberg believed she coped well with the American’s challenge:
Garbine Muguruza looks much sharper than in most of 2016, steadily through a tough test from hard-hitting Sam Crawford, 7-5, 6-4. #AusOpen
— Ben Rothenberg (@BenRothenberg) January 18, 2017
However, there will be no place for Carla Suarez Navarro after she lost out to Sorana Cirstea in straight sets.
After Cirstea claimed a narrow first set with a tiebreaker, the pair produced a remarkable second set in which eight of the nine games resulted in breaks, with the Romanian claiming five to the Spaniard’s three to win the match.