Men's veterans prevail in Australian Open

Carla Harmon
January 17, 2018

"It's not easy to play against those young guns". It is like a class full of school swots all trying to get the teacher's attention: "me sir, me sir, please sir, me sir" they cry with their arms in the air when the merest hint of chance comes their way.

In her first match at the Australian Open since a Williams sister was guaranteed to win the title, Venus Williams lost in the first round to Belinda Bencic and ensured it can not happen in 2018.

Of the other US women out in the first round, Sofia Kenin lost to No. 12 Julia Goerges - who extended her winning streak to 15 matches - Bellis lost to No. 30 Kiki Bertens, Alison Riske lost in three sets to Kirsten Flipkens, Taylor Townsend lost in straight sets to No. 19 Magdalena Rybarikova.

Luxembourg's Gilles Muller also won a five-set classic, downing Malek Jaziri of Tunisia 7-5 6-4 6-7 3-6 6-2 to set up a match against Pablo Carreno Busta, who got through after Gilles Simon retired.

And the 18-year-old Canadian had the match on his racquet.

"For me, I think it was an advantage to play him for the second time because I knew he was able to do things, insane things like he did today", Tsonga said.

"Maybe I have a little more experience".

The 211cm Croatian battled his way to a 7-6 (7-3) 6-7 (3-7) 7-5 4-6 12-10 victory in four-and-a-half hours.

U.S. Open finalist and No. 11-seeded Kevin Anderson was the highest-ranked man eliminated at that point, losing in five sets to Kyle Edmund - the only British man in the draw after five-time finalist Andy Murray withdrew. Svitolina plays Kostyuk next. She has never advanced beyond the third round, however.

The 20-year-old Swiss, who combined with Roger Federer to win the Hopman Cup in the lead-up to the season's first major, saved three match points on her serve before netting a backhand to give No. 124th-ranked Kumkhum a spot in the third round for the first time.

Ten years ago Jo-Wilfried Tsonga was likened to a young Muhammed Ali when he contested the Australian Open final against Novak Djokovic.

Ostapenko is playing her first Grand Slam with her new coach, Australian David Taylor.

French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko is through to the third round after beating Duan Yingying 6-3, 3-6, 6-4.

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