MELBOURNE, Australia | The Latest: Local hope Barty advances at Australian Open

MELBOURNE, Australia —January 15, 2019—The Latest on Wednesday from the Australian Open (all times local):

2:20 p.m.

The brightest local hope for an Australian Open women’s title in decades is through to the third round at Melbourne Park. Ashleigh Barty beat Wang Yafan 6-2, 6-3 in a Rod Laver Arena match.

The 15th-seeded Barty was a finalist at last week’s Sydney International, beating No. 1-ranked Simona Halep along the way.

Barty left tennis for more than a year in 2016 to play top-level cricket despite no formal training in the sport, and has risen up the tennis rankings since her return, winning three WTA events.

The last Australian winner of the Australian Open’s women’s singles title was Chris O’Neill in 1978.


2 p.m.

Stefanos Tsitsipas is through to the third round and closer to a potential meeting with defending champion Roger Federer at Melbourne Park.

The Greek 20-year-old beat Viktor Troicki 6-3, 2-6, 6-2, 7-5 but wasted a lot of break-point opportunities as the Serbian player saved 15 of 19 chances created by Tsitsipas.

Considered one of the new breed of young talented players on the ATP Tour, Tsitsipas won at Stockholm last year and was a finalist in two other tournaments.

He will next play 19th-seeded Nikoloz Basilashvili, who beat Stefano Travaglie 6-3, 3-6, 6-3, 4-6, 6-3, also on Wednesday. Tsitsipas could play Federer in the fourth round.


12:55 p.m.

Sloane Stephens has advanced to the third round at Melbourne Park with a 6-3, 6-1 win over her former junior doubles partner Timea Babos.

Babos faced 23 break points and managed to save 18 of them, otherwise the match would have been over quicker than its elapsed time of 1 hour, 35 minutes.

The fifth-seeded Stephens, who won the 2017 U.S. Open, captured junior doubles titles with Babos at the French Open, Wimbledon and the U.S. Open in 2010.

Stephens will next play Petra Martic.

In other early women’s matches, No. 19-seeded Caroline Garcia defeated Zoe Hives 6-3, 6-3, Aliaksandra Sasnovich beat 20th-seeded Anett Kontaveit 6-3, 6-3 and 31st-seeded Martic beat Marketa Vondrousova 6-4, 7-5.


11:50 a.m.

Bethanie Mattek-Sands lost her longtime doubles partner Lucie Safarova when the Czech player decided to retire at the end of last year. Together they won five Grand Slam doubles titles, including the Australian Open twice.

So when Mattek-Sands began the search for a new teammate, there was no doubt who she’d go after.

“I went for the best. Demi can play with anybody,” Mattek-Sands said, smiling. She was referring to Demi Schuurs, one of the most accomplished doubles players on the tour who won seven WTA doubles titles last year with four different partners.

Mattek-Sands will also play mixed doubles with Jamie Murray, Andy Murray’s brother. Mattek-Sands and Jamie Murray won the U.S.

Open mixed title last year and will try to make it two majors in a row.

Jamie Murray will play men’s doubles with Bruno Soares and will be third-seeded. The top men’s seeds in doubles will be Oliver Marach and Mate Pavic, who won last year’s title at Melbourne Park.


11:00 a.m.

Former U.S. Open champion Sloane Stephens plays Timea Babos to open second-round singles play at Rod Laver Arena on Wednesday on Day Three of the Australian Open.

The fifth-seeded Stephens, who won the 2017 U.S. Open, captured junior doubles titles with Babos at the French Open, Wimbledon and the U.S. Open in 2010.

Under sunny skies and an expected high temperature of 29 Celsius (84 Fahrenheit), local hope Ashleigh Barty is scheduled to play the second match on the main show court against Wang Yafan.

Then it’s over to defending champion Roger Federer for his match against Daniel Evans. Angelique Kerber, the 2016 champion, plays Beatriz Haddad Maia to open night play at Rod Laver, followed by Rafael Nadal’s match against Matthew Ebden.

Defending women’s singles champion Caroline Wozniacki plays Johanna Larsson over at Margaret Court Arena.


By Associated Press