Published: Sat, January 19, 2019
Sport | By Joe Gonzales

Nishikori pushed to 5 by a vintage Karlovic in Australia

Nishikori pushed to 5 by a vintage Karlovic in Australia

"I have to be happy that I didn't lose today", added the Japanese, who missed the Australian Open past year due to a wrist injury.

At 5-4 down, Nishikori had to impose himself on his younger opponent, and with a love-break he showed he would not go down without a fight, evening the set.

Karlovic produced eight aces in the first set but Nishikori bided his time for the crucial break, which came in the eighth game as a long serve from Karlovic meant he could not escape from 0-40 down - and the world number nine served out to take the opening set.

Madison Keys, the 2017 U.S. Open finalist, had a 6-3, 6-4 win over Anastasia Potapova to set up a third-round match against No. 12-seeded Elise Mertens, who beat Margarita Gasparyan 6-1, 7-5.

It was just the third men's match to need a super tie-break, introduced at the tournament this year, at the Australian Open.

Kickoff each day of the 2019 Australian Open with Tennis Channel Live, reviewing the day's most important news and previewing the day's biggest matches.

"It feels like four hours passed by in about 15 minutes".

The ATP Finals victor had control in the first two sets before the No. 36-ranked Chardy rebounded to level at two sets apiece and force the second-round match into a fifth set.

"I remember when I was maybe 24, I thought if I could play until I was 30, it would be unbelievable", he said.

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But Nishikori stepped it up, winning the last three points and sparking chants of "Nishi-kori, Nishi-kori" from a section of Japanese fans at Margaret Court Arena.

Meanwhile, fourth seed Naomi Osaka swept past Tamara Zidansek in straight sets to reach the Australian Open third round as she targets a second Grand Slam title.

Nishikori missed the season's first Gram Slam past year when a right wrist injury suffered in August 2017 wiped out the start of his season.

In the last tiebreaker, Wawrinka was up 5-4 before Raonic closed with three consecutive points to avoid heading to a fifth set. I lost two easy games and he got the sets. But Nishikori clinched final four points to win the match.

Rain showers halted play on all courts soon after Nishikori's win, forcing organizers to close the roofs of the three main show courts.

Djokovic now faces 25th-seeded Denis Shapovalov, a 19-year-old Canadian who beat Taro Daniel 6-3, 7-6 (2), 6-3.

The second-round match between 2014 champion Stan Wawrinka and Milos Raonic was level at 4-4 in the third set at Rod Laver after Wawrinka won the first set and Raonic the second, both in tiebreakers.

It was far more straightforward for Medvedev, however, as the Russian won 6-1 6-2 6-1 against South African qualifier Lloyd Harris.

The Japanese star lost the first two sets against Kamil Majchrzak and advanced when the Polish qualifier had to retire with an injury while trailing 3-0 in the deciding set.

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