Australian Open 2021: Kiwi Michael Venus cruises into the third round

New Zealand's top ranked doubles player Mike Venus has cruised through to the third round of the Australian Open with his Australian partner John Peers.

They have cruised past Korean wildcards Ji-Sung Nam and Min Kyu-Song 6-4 6-3 in 69 minutes. 

The power game of the New Zealand and Australian duo was on full show with the pair firing down seven aces and hit 27 winners. They converted two of their eight break point chances and saved all four break points against their serve.

It’s the second straight year Venus and Peers have reached the third round at Melbourne Park. 

It will probably be Saturday before they find out who their next opponents will be, but fifth seeds Rajeev Ram and Joe Salisbury - who beat fallow Kiwi Artem Sitak in the opening round - the most likely pair. Meanwhile, Kiwi Marcus Daniell and his Austrian partner Philip Oswald face German Dominik Koepfer and American Tennys Sandgren tomorrow for a place in the third round.

Serena overpowers Potapova to reach fourth round  

Serena Williams
Serena Williams Photo credit: Getty

Serena Williams's bid for a record-equalling 24th Grand Slam title remained intact as she downed Anatasia Potapova 7-6(5) 6-2 to reach the fourth round of the Australian Open on Friday.

On the last day of crowds at the tournament before spectators are banned for at least five days due to snap COVID-19 lockdown, Williams slumped to a 5-3 deficit in an error-strewn first set and had to save two set points at Rod Laver Arena.

Potapova double-faulted to put the match back on serve and from there it was on Williams's terms.

The 39-year-old American will bid for a place in the quarter-finals against seventh seed Aryna Sabalenka.

Other third round women's results on Friday

Aryna Sabalenka showed why she is among the bookmakers' favourites for the tournament with a comprehensive 6-3 6-1 win over American Lib Ann in exactly an hour on Rod Laver Arena.

The seventh seeded Belarussian, who has won 18 of her last 19 matches, will face Serena Williams in the fourth round.

Naomi Osaka swept into the fourth round with a 6-3 6-2 victory over Ons Jabeur in front of one of the last crowds allowed before Melbourne Park goes into lockdown.

The Japanese third seed pounded down eight aces as she dominated her first career contest against the Tunisian world number 30 to set up a meeting with Spain's twice Grand Slam champion Garbine Muguruza.

Muguruza, who finished runner-up at Melbourne Park last year, booked her last-16 spot with a dominant 6-1 6-1 victory over Kazakhstan's Zarina Diyas.

Third round men's results on Friday

Alexander Zverev celebrates after winning a point against Adrian Mannarino
Alexander Zverev celebrates after winning a point against Adrian Mannarino Photo credit: Getty

One of the high profile third matches didn't live up to the billing with Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov cursing through to the fourth round. Seeded 18th, Dimitrov secured a spot after Spain's Pablo Carreno Busta was forced to retire with illness, while trailing 6-0 1-0.

German sixth seed Alexander Zverev sent down 19 aces and hit 35 winners to seal a dominant 6-3 6-3 6-1 win over Frenchman Adrian Mannarino. The German sets up a meeting with either Spaniard Pedro Martinez or Serbian 23rd seed Dusan Lajovic.