AO 2022 Day 3: Contenders keep rolling, Monfils motors

Who is making their move at Melbourne Park? Here’s a look at some key headlines from a packed Wednesday Down Under.

Gaël Monfils - Open d'Australie 2022©Corinne Dubreuil / FFT
 - Alex Sharp

Across the grounds at Melbourne Park it was another edge-of-the-seat day at Australian Open 2022.

Third round tickets were up for grabs, opening the chance to reach the second week at the ‘Happy Slam.’

Here is a selection of the key stories Down Under.

Barty brilliance once again

One game dropped in the first round, just two games relinquished in the second round. World No.1 Ash Barty has blazed into the last 32, dismissing Italian qualifier Lucia Bronzetti 6-1, 6-1 in just 52 minutes.

The consecutive service holds tally is up to 48, the “weapon” of the serve is wicked.

“I felt like I wanted to try to use my experience a little bit today, get off to a quick start. I was able to do that. I served well. I was able to find plenty of forehands and control the match quite well, so pleased with that one,” stated the home taliswoman, pocket rocket 30th seed Camila Giorgi awaits.

“I'm going to have to serve well, bring in variety, make sure I can cover the court, neutralise the best that I can. She has the ability to hit you off the court without realising it's happening.”

Alcaraz on the charge

Spanish teenage sensation Carlos Alcaraz became the youngest man into the third round in Melbourne since Bernard Tomic in 2011 with a commanding 6-2, 6-1, 7-5 victory over Dusan Lajovic.

Alcaraz defeated No.7 seed Matteo Berrettini in a third set tie-break back in Vienna in October. They’ll meet again on Friday.

“I think I grew up since that match,” declared the Next Gen Finals champion. “All I can say is I'm gonna have fun.”

It should be fun to watch too!

Nadal and Monfils motor through

20-time Grand Slam champion Rafael Nadal cruised past German qualifier Yannick Hanfmann. The 2009 winner at Melbourne Park will take a 7-0 record into his next clash with world No.30 Karen Khachanov, who ended Benjamin Bonzi’s tournament in straight sets.

Gael Monfils declared “I’m back!” The world No.20 put on a hotshot show and crushed the ball with brimming belief 6-1, 6-0, 6-4 against Kazakh Alexander Bublik.

“I just felt good, amazing atmosphere, good vibes with crowd. Good Gael,” said the Frenchman with a beaming smile, taking on 16th seed Cristian Garin in the last 32. 

“I was moving very fast, was tough for him to get through me. Serving great, couple trick shots. Everything is good. I'm on.”

Shock of the day: "Manna" on fire

10th seed Hubert Hurkacz was tipped for a deep run but the craft and guile of Frenchman Adrian Mannarino completely disrupted his rhythm. World No.69 Mannarino’s reward for the 6-4, 6-2, 6-3 victory is a shot at 2021 semi-finalist Aslan Karatsev.

Murray salutes awesome Osaka

“Anyone hit the ball cleaner from the baseline than Osaka?” with a fire emoji, Andy Murray hailed the cannonball striking from defending champion Naomi Osaka.

The Japanese star whistled through a 20-minute first set and sprinted to the finishing line with 12 of the last 14 points 6-0, 6-4 over Madison Brengle.

“Definitely means a lot. For me it was a really cool moment. It's a little bit shocking, because when you're playing, you never really think about the TV is broadcasting it and other people are watching,” said a delighted Osaka after Murray’s social media interaction.

“I hit with him once like three years ago, and it was a memory that's really dear to me. It was really cool just to have someone like him talking about my game.”

The resurgent American Amanda Anisimova will be Osaka’s next opponent. The 20-year-old remains undefeated in 2022, as champion in the lead-up Melbourne 2 event, and had too much artillery 6-2, 7-5 for 22nd seed Belinda Bencic.

Roland-Garros champion Barbora Krejcikova posted a dominant 6-2, 6-3 scoreline facing Xiyu Wang to book an encounter with 2017 Roland-Garros winner Jelena Ostapenko.

Badosa the star of the show

World No.6 maintained her momentum 6-0, 6-3 to sail past Italian qualifier Martina Trevisan. Coming off a title win in Sydney, Badosa is relishing her role as one of the leading lights in women’s tennis.

“It's amazing and I have goosebumps, because I played here two years ago against Petra (Kvitova) and I played on this court because of her because she was the seeded player,” stated the Spaniard.

“So being back here on Rod Laver Arena, winning and being here because I'm the seeded one, it's super special. It's very emotional to be there.”

Badosa will vie for a second week slot in a battle with Ukrainian teenager Marta Kostyuk, who edged 32nd seed Sara Sorribes Tormo 7-6(5), 6-3.

Two-time Australian Open champion Victoria Azarenka rolled into the third round 6-1, 6-2 facing world No.34 Til Teichmann to earn an intriguing last 32 clash with Elina Svitolina.

Maria Sakkari and American duo Jessica Pegula and Madison Keys all enjoyed a straight sets passage into the third round.

Matches of the day

There were three marathon matches to choose from here.

American Next Gen star Sebastian Korda defied the craft of Corentin Moutet 3-6, 6-4, 6-7(2), 7-5, 7-6(6) in front of a rowdy packed crowd on Court 8.

Korda’s five hour win pushes him onto the challenge presented by 19th seed Pablo Carreno Busta, who prevailed 6-3, 6-7(6), 7-6(3), 3-6, 6-4  to halt Tallon Griekspoor’s 29 match winning streak.

Finally, Canadian Denis Shapovalov escaped in four hours and 25 minutes in an epic 7-6(6), 6-7(3), 6-7(6), 7-5, 6-2 battle with Soonwoo Kwon.