(Reuters) - Top seeds Novak Djokovic and Simona Halep advanced to the Australian Open third round on Thursday but Halep was made to work hard for her win over American Sofia Kenin.
Djokovic produced a clinical display to put away Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 6-3 7-5 6-4 in a repeat of the 2008 final at Melbourne Park.
It was the 31-year-old Serb’s 16th consecutive win on the Grand Slam stage and he will next face Canadian youngster Denis Shapovalov.
Halep was cruising to victory after leading by a set and a break but Kenin roared back to edge the second set in a tiebreak.
Despite going down a break in the decider, Halep kept her composure to prevail 6-3 6-7(5) 6-4.
It is the first time since Wimbledon in 2009 that all of the women’s top eight seeds have reached the third round at a Grand Slam.
Serena Williams needed just 70 minutes to swat aside Canada’s Eugenie Bouchard 6-2 6-2 as she continued her quest for a record 24th Grand Slam title.
Alexander Zverev survived a scare as he held off Frenchman Jeremy Chardy in a 7-6(5) 6-4 5-7 6-7(6) 6-1 victory.
Highlights of Thursday’s fourth day of the Australian Open, the first Grand Slam tournament of the year (all times GMT):
In a repeat of the 2008 Melbourne final, top seed Novak Djokovic fired 33 winners to beat Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 6-3 7-5 6-4.
The Serb, chasing a record seventh Australian Open title, will next face Canada’s 25th seed Denis Shapovalov.
Serena Williams, chasing a record 24th Grand Slam title, struck 20 winners and converted six break points to beat Canadian Eugenie Bouchard 6-2 6-2.
The American, who recorded her 83rd match win at Melbourne Park, will face Ukraine’s Dayana Yastremska in the third round.
World number one Simona Halep survived an almighty scare against Sofia Kenin before she overcame the unseeded American 6-3 6-7(5) 6-4 to reach the third round.
After blasting her way through the first set and racing to a 3-0 lead in the next, 2018 runner-up Halep appeared to step off the gas as she allowed the determined Kenin to level at 3-3 and eventually drag the contest into a decider.
Halep battled hard in the third set and regained control with a decisive break in the ninth game before closing out the match on her second match point in two hours and 31 minutes.
Australian wildcard Alexei Popyrin advanced to the third round after seventh seed Dominic Thiem retired from the contest while trailing 7-5 6-4 2-0.
Last year’s semi-finalist Chung Hyeon, seeded 24th, was knocked out by unseeded Pierre-Hugues Herbert 6-2 1-6 6-2 6-4. Frenchman Herbert meets Milos Raonic next.
Canada’s Milos Raonic dropped the first set but recovered to beat Stan Wawrinka 6-7(4) 7-6(6) 7-6(11) 7-6(5) in a contest that lasted just over four hours.
Action resumed on the main showcourts at Melbourne following a short spell of rain.
U.S. Open champion Naomi Osaka powered past unseeded Slovenian Tamara Zidansek 6-2 6-4. She plays Taiwan’s Hsieh Su-wei in the next round.
Play was suspended at the Australian Open due to rain. Stan Wawrinka and 16th seed Milos Raonic were locked at 4-4 in the third set having claimed one set apiece in their second round encounter on Rod Laver Arena.
Kei Nishikori was dragged into a five-setter for the second match in a row but the eighth seed dug deep to beat Croatian veteran Ivo Karlovic 6-3 7-6(6) 5-7 5-7 7-6(7).
The Japanese looked in control after taking a two-set lead but the 39-year-old Karlovic did not back down and levelled the contest. Nishikori held his nerve in a tight decider to prevail in three hours and 48 minutes.
U.S. Open semi-finalist Anastasija Sevastova overcame a mid-match blip to defeat Canadian qualifier Bianca Andreescu 6-3 3-6 6-2 and advance to the third round. The 13th seed takes on China’s Wang Qiang next.
Compiled by Greg Stutchbury, Shrivathsa Sridhar and Hardik Vyas; Editing by Peter Rutherford/Ed Osmond