Defending champion Novak Djokovic got further acquainted with the Australian Open electronic linecalling system on Wednesday in a challenging 6-3, 6-7(3), 7-6(2), 6-3 defeat of Frances Tiafoe.
The top seed bidding for his ninth title here will next take on another American in Taylor Fritz, who went for more than four hours before finally putting compatriot Reilly Opelka to bed 4-6, 7-6(6), 6-7(4), 7-6(5), 6-2 .
Djokovic had to recover after dropping the opening set, but turned it around in three and a half hours with 26 aces.
Third-seeded trophy threat Dominic Thiem, who lost the final last January to Djokovic, advanced to the third round with a defeat of German Dominink Koepfer 6-4, 6-0, 6-2.
Djokovic is a big fan of computerised call after being defaulted out of the fourth round last September in New York after accidentally striking a human lineswoman with a loose ball after a point.
“I understand that we have a certain tradition (with) line judges.” the No. 1 said.
“We have a lot of volunteers around the world. I understand that it’s taking away the jobs for many line umpires.
“On the other hand, I think that’s something that’s inevitable for the future of tennis.
“Of course, I would keep the ballkids there – line calls, I would support the technology.”
Thiem called his win over the 70th-ranked Koepfer “a super-good match.”
“He was on fire in the beginning. Conditions were the hottest since we were in Australia, so I had to get used to that.
“After the first set, everything started to work. I’m happy because I beat a very good opponent in three sets.”
No. 9 Diego Schwartzman quietly went a out his business, with the pocket rocket Argentine beating French lucky loser )Alexandre Muller 6-2, 6-0, 6-3
Canada landed three men into the third round, with MIlos Raonic, Denis Shapovalov and Felix Auger-Aliassime all advancing.
The veteran Raonic beat Corentin Moutet of France 6-7(1), 6-1, 6-1, 6-4, Shapovalov dispatched Australian Bernard Tomic 6-1, 6-3, 6-2 and Auger-Aliassime defeated Aussie James Duckworth 6-1, 6-4, 6-2.
Shapovalova and Auger-Aliassime next meet in the third round, with Shapo winning both of their previous encounters at Grand Slams (US Open),
“It’s a big opportunity for both of us, an important match. We’re going to just compete as hard as we can,” Auger-Aliassime said.
2014 Melbourne champion Stan Wawrinka was unable to take advantage of three match points in a four-hour struggle with Marton Fucsovics, going down 7-5, 6-1, 4-6, 2-6, 7-6(9).
“Five sets, four hours. Always a difficult battle against an opponent I’ve played a few times in the past,” the 35-year-old Swiss said.
“It was not the best level for me, but I was fighting, I had some chances to finish the match – I didn’t finish,
“I hesitated a little bit when I had match point (final set tiebreaker) and I lost it.”
Underachieving Aussie Bernard Tomic set the tone for a poor day with his listless loss to Shapo.
The Queensland qualifier managed two double-faults, 12 unforced errors and won 14 points in the 23-minute opening set.
No. 233 Tomic,who once stood in the Top 20, has been skewered for years by the Australian press for lack of effort. But the 28-year-old said he had few chances going in against his 12th-ranked Canadian opponent.
“There’s no excuse for me. The guy just played too good. It’s just confidence.
“I remember myself playing being in the top 30, top 20, you come into matches, you’re confident over opponents. That’s what he had on the start.
“From the first ball, from the first game, from the first 15 minutes, he didn’t miss a ball.”
Nick Kyrgios won a five-set match at the Australian Open for a second consecutive edition on Wednesday, battling into the third round over France’s Ugo Humbert.
The Australian posted a 5-7, 6-4, 3-6, 7-6(2), 6-4 victory after three and a half hours on court; a year ago he defeated Karen Khachanov in five..
The epic from the ATP bad boy featured a third-set stoush with the chair umpire, match points saved in the fourth and a popular end in the fifth for a hyped-up nighttime crowd.
The volatile Aussie threatened to leave the court in a dispute with chair umpire Marijana Veljovic over noises from the automatic net cord buzzer, a row which quickly calmed down.
Victory set up a huge test against third seed Dominic Thiem in the third round.
“I actually was just thinking of all the s**t I was gonna cop if I lost that match,” Kyrgios said of his fighting finish.
“I’m still kind of in awe at the atmosphere, the stadium definitely didn’t feel half-full, that’s for sure.
“The atmosphere was insane.”
Kyrgios said he benefitted hugely from crowd support as he faced two match points in the fourth set.
“There were some dark thoughts in there. I don’t know how I got out of it, but that tends to be my career.
“I live to fight another day.”
Main photo:- Novak DJOKOVIC (SRB) beats Frances TIAFOE (USA) Day 3 of the Australian Open Tennis Australia/ ROB PREZIOSO