Melbourne: Roger Federer was in no mood to let a trend develop after the first real upsets of the week at the Australian Open tennis on Saturday and slapped down Bernard Tomic with authority to reach the fourth round.
Juan Martin del Potro stunned Federer to win the US Open in 2009 but the Argentine sixth seed was on the receiving end of the shock on Saturday when an inspired Jeremy Chardy led a four-strong French charge into the last 16.
Serena Williams and Andy Murray never looked like losing sometimes challenging contests earlier in the day but defending champion and world No. 1 Victoria Azarenka had a closer call and was forced to dig deep for her victory. Del Potro battled back from two sets down to level his third-round contest but the mercurial Chardy grabbed a break in the decider and held his nerve to serve out for a 6-3, 6-3, 6-7, 3-6, 6-3 win.
Azarenka had to come back from a break down in the deciding set to avoid the same fate against injury-hampered American Jamie Hampton and her relief at her 6-4, 4-6, 6-2 win was clear. Serena also wobbled a bit at 3-0 down in the second set against world No. 72 Ayumi Morita after losing her serve for the first time in the tournament.
The third seed showed no discomfort from the ankle strain she sustained in the opening round, however, and stormed back to win the next six games and dismiss the Japanese 6-1, 6-3. US Open champion Murray broke down his Lithuanian practice partner Ricardas Berankis 6-3, 6-4, 7-5 after a tricky 132 minutes in the Melbourne sun.
Among Indians, Mahesh Bhupathi entered the men's doubles third round, while Leander Paes and Rohan Bopanna progressed to the mixed doubles second round with their respective partners.
Bhupathi and Canadian partner Daniel Nestor, seeded fifth, defeated Romania’s Victor Hanescu and Slovak Martin Klizan 6-1, 7-6 (8) to enter the third round.
Paes and Elena Vesnina overcame a stiff resistance from unseeded team of Pakistan’s Aisam-ul-Haq Qureshi and Sofia Arvidsson of Sweden in the first round.
The second seeded Indo-Russian pair came from behind to edge past the unseeded rivals 6-7 (8), 6-4, 10-7 in one hour and 48 minutes contest.
They next take on Australian pair of Jarmila Gajdosova and Matthew Ebden.
Bopanna crashed out of the men’s doubles but advanced to the second round of the mixed doubles. Bopanna and Chinese Taipei's Su-Wei Hsieh defeated Australian-American pairing of Ashleigh Barty and Jack Sock 6-3, 6-3.
The Indo-Taipei pair will now be up against the winner of the match between the Slovak-Italian duo of Daniela Hantuchova and Fabio Fognini and the Russian-American combine of Natalie Grandin and Rajeev Ram. (Agencies)