Rafael Nadal, Tsonga win to progress to next stage

Top seed Rafael Nadal progressed to the last 32 of the Australian Open with a straight-set victory over Argentina’s Leonardo Mayer in Melbourne.

The Spaniard, 31, beat world number 52 Mayer 6-3 6-4 7-6 (7-4) in two hours 38 minutes on Rod Laver Arena.

Mayer responded to a Nadal break in the final set with one of his own, before the 2009 champion took the tie-break.

“I’m happy to be in the third round and a second victory in a row is very important news for me,” said Nadal.

“Leonardo is a player with big potential, he hits the ball so strong. He is a very dangerous opponent.

“This tournament is my favourite of the year, so I want to stay here as long as possible.”

Nadal will face Bosnia and Herzegovina’s Damir Dzumhur in the next round after the world number 30 beat John Millman 7-5 3-6 6-4 6-1.

Earlier, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga fought back from 5-2 down in the final set to beat Denis Shapovalov in an absorbing match and reach the Australian Open third round.

The 2008 finalist overcame the 18-year-old Canadian 3-6 6-3 1-6 7-6 (7-4) 7-5.

Frenchman Tsonga, seeded 15th, will face Nick Kyrgios or Viktor Troicki next.

“I’m tired but really happy. I did a big fight today, it’s not easy to play against these young guns – they go for everything,” said 32-year-old Tsonga.

Croatia’s Ivo Karlovic, who turns 39 next month, came through a marathon match against Japan’s Yuichi Sugita, winning 7-6 (7-3) 6-7 (3-7) 7-5 4-6 12-10 in four hours and 33 minutes.

Sixth seed Marin Cilic enjoyed a straightforward 6-1 7-5 6-2 victory over Joao Sousa.

Finally, Marta Kostyuk became the youngest player to reach the third round of a Grand Slam since 1997 as the 15-year-old qualifier beat Olivia Rogowska at the Australian Open.

The world number 521 won 6-3 7-5 and plays fourth seed and fellow Ukranian Elina Svitolina in the last 32.

Kostyuk is the youngest player to reach that stage at a Slam since Mirjana Lucic-Baroni in the 1997 US Open.

She is the youngest in the last 32 at Melbourne since Martina Hingis in 1996.


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