First set: Nishioka 2-5 Djokovic* (*denotes server): An amazing rally of aerial ping pong – Djokovic smashing, Nishioka returning high enough to bring rain – goes the Serb’s way as does the game. Again, with no fuss at all. Djokovic is owning his service games as one might expect of this unbelievably good tennis player.
First set: Nishioka* 2-4 Djokovic (*denotes server): Nishioka prevails in the game’s best rally as Djokovic tries a cute drop shot – and Nishioka was beaten – but the ball lands on the wrong side of the net for the Serb. And from there it’s an easy game for the Japanese left hander, who holds to love.
First set: Nishioka 1-4 Djokovic* (*denotes server): Another ridiculously comfortable service game for Djokovic. If Nishioka is to do anything here, he’ll have to put more pressure on the Djokovic serve.
First set: Nishioka* 1-3 Djokovic (*denotes server): Nishioka runs Djokovic around the court to take the game to 15-15 and shows even more dash with a sweetly hit backhand winner across the court to set up game point. Djokovic then crashes his forehand into the net and Nishioka is off the mark.
First set: Nishioka 0-3 Djokovic* (*denotes server): Djokovic looks nailed on to win another service game to love, but an unforced error – confirmation: he is human – means he has to wait another point to hold his serve. And hold his serve he does.
First set: Nishioka* 0-2 Djokovic (*denotes server): Nice down-the-line winner wins Nishioka his first point of the match. Leading 30-15, the Japanese hits long and before you know it Djokovic has a break point. I think you know how this story goes. Nishioka hits wide, Djokovic wins the game and has the early break.
First set: Nishioka 0-1 Djokovic* (*denotes server): Easy as you like for Djokovic, who holds serve without breaking sweat.
Now onto Novak Djokovic and his third-round match against Yoshihito Nishioka, the Serb’s second Japanese opponent in as many encounters. Djokovic to serve first.
A whip around the courts …
- Caroline Wozniacki’s celebrated career is over after she was beaten, 5-7 6-3 5-7, by Ons Jabeur
- Diego Schwartzman showed he was capable of going deep at Melbourne Park with a 6-2 6-3 7-6 win over Dusan Lajovic
- Seventh seed Petra Kvitova was untroubled in seeing off 25th seed Ekaterina Alexandrova, 6-1 6-2
Wang beats Williams (6-4 6-7 7-5)
Wang takes a 0-30 lead. She can feel victory, taste its sweetness, but with the chance to grab three match points she hits a straightforward forehand wide. Those damn nerves. But a Williams error hands the Chinese two match points – the first of which she hits long, the second of which she shoots into the net. Williams then hits wide to give Wang another match point … and this time she takes it as Williams crashes into the net. Serena Williams is out of the Australian Open!
Third set: Williams 4-6 7-6 (7-2) 5-6 Wang* (*denotes server): What an attack on the nerves playing tennis at this level must be. Wang knows dropping here would be near fatal and misses across the court with a shot she would make blindfolded in training. Williams then takes a 15-30 lead courtesy of a winner before an error – oh, the nerves! – makes it 30-30. It’s soon 40-30 after a Williams challenge and Wang hangs on to take the lead. Yes, a break next game would make things very interesting. But we’ve been here before, haven’t we?
Third set: Williams* 4-6 7-6 (7-2) 5-5 Wang (*denotes server): You didn’t really think Williams would drop serve, did you? She’s been there, done that, got the T-shirt in these situations many times before, and she lets out a huge bellow as she takes the set to 5-5 with a big ace. Williams. Wonderful.
Third set: Williams 4-6 7-6 (7-2) 4-5 Wang* (*denotes server): Wang has the chance to go to 40-0 but a rare error hands Williams the point. No bother, the Chinese No 1 eases through the next two points to claim the game. A break next game will be very interesting, indeed …
Third set: Williams* 4-6 7-6 (7-2) 4-4 Wang (*denotes server): On a knife’s edge at 30-30, Williams fails to put a smash away before making amends as the ball just lands in court. But Wang takes the game to deuce, and then to her advantage as Williams hits long, but Williams shows customary courage and polish to restore parity. And it’s all Williams from there. An opportunity lost for Wang.
Third set: Williams 4-6 7-6 (7-2) 3-4 Wang* (*denotes server): Wang races to a 30-0 lead before a rare unforced error gives Williams a sniff. At the net, Wang takes the wrong option – zoning in on Williams’ backhand – and she gratefully accepts by unfurling a brutal winner across the court. And follows it up with an almost primeval scream of delight. Now at deuce, Wang’s reliable first serve gifts her the advantage and then the game as Williams finds the net. Compelling stuff. I wouldn’t be looking away even if I wasn’t working.
Third set: Williams* 4-6 7-6 (7-2) 3-3 Wang (*denotes server): Where Williams is mostly anchored to the baseline, Wang is moving around the court like a greyhound. Even from the back court Wang is effective and a Williams mishit into the net takes the game to deuce. But the baseline is Williams’s territory, and she rips a big winner to gain the advantage before taking the game with an ace down the T. No flinch from either player yet.
Third set: Williams 4-6 7-6 (7-2) 2-3 Wang* (*denotes server): Ditto for Wang, who has really found her first-serve mojo in this deciding set. Dominating the point from the outset allows her freedom to move around the court, and she finishes the game from the net.
Third set: Williams* 4-6 7-6 (7-2) 2-2 Wang (*denotes server): Williams strolls through her service game. Neither player has looked like breaking thus far in the third set.
The end of an era, and Caroline Wozniacki’s tennis career. Go well, Caroline. Thanks for the memories.
Third set: Williams 4-6 7-6 (7-2) 1-2 Wang* (*denotes server): Wang gets her first serve rocking – producing her fastest of the match to set up game point – before Williams crashes a return into the net to seal a comfortably held game for the Chinese No 1. If Wang is deflated after not wrapping this match up in two sets, she isn’t showing it.
Third set: Williams* 4-6 7-6 (7-2) 1-1 Wang (*denotes server): Williams is an incredible fighter, a real competitor, but Wang won’t lie down. Williams finds the net again to hand Wang the advantage at 15-30 before a crunching forehand winner sets up break point. But a Williams ace takes the game to deuce, then another gives her game point. A backhand winner seals the deal for the seven-time winner and games are going to serve.
Third set: Williams 4-6 7-6 (7-2) 0-1 Wang* (*denotes server): Taken to a third set from the jaws of victory, Wang needed to hold her serve and she did just that. Williams made a couple of unforced errors, finding the net and hitting long, but she is going for her shots.
Thanks Jonathan. What an engrossing tennis match this is. Here we go with the third set.
From the canvas the champ is back to one set all. Follow the conclusion of this gripping contest with Scott Heinrich.
Second set: Williams 4-6 7-6 (7-2) Wang (*denotes server): An exhausting backhand rally from corner to corner takes every ounce of energy from both players before Wang hits wide. Williams follows it up with an unreturnable serve – and the second set is hers!
Second set: Williams 4-6 6-6 (5-2) Wang (*denotes server): Wang chokes on a forehand but the gift is returned when Williams double faults – her third of the match. There’s confusion at 3-2 when the rally continues despite Wang hitting long and it takes Hawkeye to confirm the point for Serena after she overhit the following lob. Williams then prevails in a fierce rally with Wang at the net unable to put away a winner.
Second set: Williams 4-6 6-6 (2-1) Wang (*denotes server): Serena holds her serve early in the tiebreak with a nice forehand down the line, she then misses the latest in a long line of second serve returns when Wang drops one in her hitting zone that was begging to be crunched. She makes amends in fortunate fashion, benefiting from a net cord that drops just the right side of the net to steal the mini-break.
Second set: Williams 4-6 6-6 Wang* (*denotes server): Wang nails her first serve, then Serena chunks wildly for 30-0. The first proper rally doesn’t last long, Williams again mishitting, then she hammers a forehand too deep to gift a simple hold in difficult circumstances for Wang.
Second set: Williams* 4-6 6-5 Wang (*denotes server): The momentum from that incredible point doesn’t flow into Serena’s service game. Another series of points littered with errors sees the American down 15-40. Wang frames a return for 30-40. Then an ace – just the fourth of the match from the greatest server in women’s tennis – to pull it back to deuce.
An emphatic serve-forehand combination puts Williams ahead then Wang goes long to confirm the hold. The tide is slowly turning Serena’s way. Now Wang has to serve to stay in the set.
Second set: Williams 4-6 5-5 Wang* (*denotes server): Point of the match! A 24-shot rally at 15-40 and Williams is back in the contest.
She gets on the board first when Wang misses her mark, then she scorches to 0-30 with a fierce backhand return winner. Wang succeeds in drawing her opponent into a rally, with predictable consequences, before she concedes two break points with an unfamiliar error, inviting Williams to showcase her greatness. Is the magnitude of the occasion finally telling?
Second set: Williams* 4-6 4-5 Wang (*denotes server): A rare straightforward hold for Williams.
Wang will serve for the match.
Second set: Williams 4-6 3-5 Wang* (*denotes server): There’s a pattern developing of Williams throwing the kitchen sink at a couple of shots early in a rally then looking less and likely to win the point every time Wang’s supreme movement returns the ball over the net. 30-15 arrives on exactly those terms before one of those unplayable thwacks whistles beyond the 27th seed, still rebounding from her serving motion. A forced error, finally Wang’s defence cracking, opens the door for a break, but it closes quickly with a ghastly error, the 32nd of the match from Williams.
Deuce is on Serena’s racket, forcing Wang into some miraculous defending, but the Chinese star comes out on top, hunting down Serena’s attempts to draw her to the net after repelling everything thrown at her on the baseline. Serving for the hold, not for the first time, she benefits from an American gift.
Williams serving to stay in the tournament.
Second set: Williams* 4-6 3-4 Wang (*denotes server): Williams needs a burst of inspiration but a stop-start game that dribbles to 30-30 doesn’t appear to be it. It gets even worse when she hits the latest in a long line of backhands beyond Wang’s baseline before a forehand winner smuggles her to deuce. The crowd roars its approval at the 143kph shot, urging the living legend back into this contest.
And she holds, eventually, nailing a couple of first serves. But she has to find a break from somewhere, and that looks unlikely against such a composed opponent.
Second set: Williams 4-6 2-4 Wang* (*denotes server): Challenge accepted. Serena powers her way to 0-30, finally dispatching a gentle Wang second serve. But she overhits consecutive backhands to allow her opponent back on track. A third unforced error in a row offers Wang game point but for one of the few occasions this match she misses her target in the middle of a long baseline rally.
Deuce looks to be on Serena’s racket but Wang unfurls the shot of the match, a running forehand that clips the outside-half of the line, Williams then hits yet another backhand long and her travails continue.
Meanwhile, Caroline Wozniacki is digging in.
Second set: Williams* 4-6 2-3 Wang (*denotes server): Serena’s 24th error (to Wang’s seven) opens game five of the second set, and it’s followed by errors 25 and 26 courtesy of some wild hitting after Wang continues to defend with aplomb.
Three break points. And from the second Wang hits a precision forehand in-to-out winner. The Chinese star is a set and a break up on Serena Williams. The tournament favourite is on her way out of the Australian Open.
Second set: Williams 4-6 2-2 Wang* (*denotes server): Williams is not punishing Wang’s errors, again allowing a point to go begging despite a soft second serve. She can’t afford to do that early in points because once rallies form they are on her opponent’s racket. Wang looks increasingly assured as she moves to 40-0 and settles the hold to 15. This looks to be her match to lose.
Second set: Williams* 4-6 2-1 Wang (*denotes server): Wang is timing her mid-rally shots so sweetly she’s making Serena look cumbersome, especially when she hits behind the veteran. At 0-30 Wang is all over the 23-time grand slam champion, forcing Williams to put every ounce of effort into every attempted winner just to claw her way back to 30-30. A 15-shot rally full of purpose then evolves, each hit met with a shriek of exertion, neither player giving an inch knowing the set is on a knife’s edge. Williams, playing catch-up, prevails in the most fortunate manner when the ball clips the net and dribbles tantalisingly onto Wang’s side of the court. The hold follows in similarly exhausting fashion with Wang’s ability to scramble taking Serena way out of her comfort zone but a tough backhand drive volley seals it.
This is a far from routine day at the office for Serena Williams.
Second set: Williams 4-6 1-1 Wang* (*denotes server): Williams has her game face on and is ready to step it up at 15-30 but Wang is in her zone today, focussed, moving effortlessly, and hitting her targets from the back of the court. A second serve at 30-30 is begging to be punished but Williams can only find the net. An ace seals a steely hold.
No sign of nerves from the outsider.
Second set: Williams* 4-6 1-0 Wang (*denotes server): It looks like a statement game from Williams, serving big and backing it up with intensity to race to 40-0 but then Wang reminds her she’s around, scrapping to 15 then drilling a forehand down the line for 30. It’s to no avail though when a forehand finds the net.
Wang is 11 winners to five unforced errors. Serena is 14 winners to 18 errors.
First set: Williams 4-6 Wang* (*denotes server): Wang is not giving an inch. Williams comes out firing to bludgeon the opening point but the Chinese 27th seed stays with her stroke for stroke, forcing Williams to play shots she doesn’t think she’ll need to, eventually provoking three errors in a row before a return long hands the opening set to Qiang Wang.
We are deep in upset territory on Rod Laver Arena.
First set: Williams* 4-5 Wang (*denotes server): Sloppy from Serena; a forehand into the net with plenty of court to aim for follows a double fault. She then tries a drop shot but for the second time in the match Wang is up into the net in quicktime to put away the winner. Three break points – but she only needs one! A huge moment in this match, the 27th seed breaking to love.
Williams, far from peak form right now, has it all to do. Not great news for Serena’s close friend Caroline Wozniacki either.
First set: Williams 4-4 Wang* (*denotes server): Wang chips away to 40-15 and looks destined fora straightforward hold but Serena unloads a couple of huge forehand returns to redirect all the momentum. Wang then finds the net at deuce offering Williams a break point, but the American can’t convert.
Just when she needs a confidence boost Wang nails consecutive first serves to see off any threat.
First set: Williams* 4-3 Wang (*denotes server): Wang is reading Williams well off her racket, defending smartly from the baseline on both flanks and accelerating forward to collect anything short. Serena is unable to force the short points she craves and looks vulnerable at 15-30. Uncharacteristically, Wang gets her length wrong before she is bullied out of a couple points by the eighth seed who secures a hard-fought hold.
Still on serve in the first set, but this one could go either way.
First set: Williams 3-3 Wang* (*denotes server): There’s still little flow to this contest with both players guilty of regular errors. One thing that is in rhythm is Wang’s footwork and she uses it to great effect to keep herself in points that could easily be Williams winners. A bits and pieces game leaks to 30-40 but Williams overhits her return looking for a break point winner.
Deuce comes and goes on Wang’s racket before Serena steps in and absolutely destroys a clean forehand second serve winner that was hit with fearsome violence. She looks on course for the break but Wang is lightning around the court and extends what looks to be a Williams point into a longer rally, and the longer the points go the more assured Wang looks.
Williams earns a third break point with some fizzing groundstrokes, knowing she doesn’t want to be drawn into a war of attrition with a much nimbler opponent. That strategy is her undoing though when she’s wide with the big forehand.
Deuce four is another example of Wang’s ascendancy in points that extend beyond a couple of shots, then she nails her first serve to secure the hold.
Here’s your report from Ash Barty’s victory earlier today.
First set: Williams* 3-2 Wang (*denotes server): Wang is looking the spritelier of the two so far and converts that energy into an excellent opening point winner. Serena responds with a two shot point that ends with a “come on!” and fist pump. She knows she’s in a battle today. A pair of aces are then separated by a backhand into the net for 40-30, with the hold secured after Wang fails to land a second serve return.
Serena, as is her wont, is serving her way out of trouble in these early exchanges but Wang looks the likelier once rallies have formed.
First set: Williams 2-2 Wang* (*denotes server): Williams looks to be easing into her work, hitting her marks with more pop than earlier games to move up 0-30. A sloppy overhit brings Wang back into the game then a superb backhand crosscourt from the 27th seed draws her level. She carries that momentum into what becomes an impressive hold, sealing the game with a rally that drags her veteran opponent from corner to corner, exhibiting impressive footwork of her own in the process.
This is far from the two previous steamroller displays we’ve seen from Serena.
First set: Williams* 2-1 Wang (*denotes server): The first really imposing point of the match from Williams sees her move up 30-0 with a forehand winner but consecutive errors into bring Wang back into the game. Both players then exchange wide forehands in search of winners but at deuce Wang brilliantly redirects a powerful drive over the net and down the line to earn a break point. Serena defends it superbly with a backhand winner from the baseline that finds an outrageous angle.
Another assertive point from the veteran opens up a game point and she takes it with some fierce hitting provoking an error from her Chinese opponent.
On serve so far early in the match with neither player yet exhibiting any rhythm.
First set: Williams 1-1 Wang* (*denotes server): An error-strewn game goes Wang’s way in quicktime. Serena not yet up to full speed.
First set: Williams* 1-0 Wang (*denotes server): The match gets off to a tame start with both players making early errors for 15-15. Williams then steps it up to win the first significant rally of the match before launching her opening ace. A safe hold for the tournament favourite.