Australian Open: Kiwi Mike Venus alongside Australian partner John Peers cruise into second round

Kiwi doubles player Mike Venus and his Australian partner John Peers have made a successful start to their Australian Open campaign with a comfortable straight sets win in the opening round. 

The 10th seeds raced to a 6-3 6-2 victory over Australia's top singles player Alex De Minaur and his compatriot Matt Reid in 64 minutes. 

After a tight opening set where Venus and Peers grabbed the only break of serve at 4-3, the pair went onto dominate the second set with their power game. 

They hit 22 winners to 14 and served remarkable well, winning 81 percent on their first serve and converted three of their eight break point opportunities.  

The pair will next face Korean wildcards Min-Kyu Song and Ji Sung Nam for a place in the third round for the second straight year. The pair of 30-year-old Koreans are both ranked outside the top 100 but upset New Zealand-born Ben McLachlan, who represents Japan, and India’s Rohan Bopanna in the first round.

Fallow Kiwi's Marcus Daniel - and his Austrian partner Phillip Oswald - Artem Sitak and his British partner Jonny O'Mara are all in action on Thursday.  

Defending men's singles champion Novak Djokovic had his hands full against American Frances Tiafoe but the Serbian rose to the occasion to claim a 6-3 6-7(3) 7-6(2) 6-3 win and reach the third round.

Tiafoe's sparkling tennis revived memories of his run to the 2019 quarter-finals but Djokovic dug deep to keep his quest for a record-extending ninth title at Melbourne Park alive.

Nick Kyrgios raised the roof at the John Cain Arena with a stunning 5-7 6-4 3-6 7-6(2) 6-4 comeback victory over Frenchman Ugo Humbert to book a showdown with U.S. Open champion Dominic Thiem, who beat Dominik Koepfer 6-4 6-0 6-2.

The Australian dug deep to save two match points in the fourth set and then proceeded to dominate the tiebreak to send the match into a decider.

There were also the extras that showman Kyrgios brings to the court - an underarm serve, some exquisite shot-making, a smashed racket and a running row with the umpire over net cord calls.

Nick Kyrgios
Nick Kyrgios Photo credit: Getty

Serena Williams continued her march towards a record-equalling 24th Grand Slam singles crown with a 6-3 6-0 victory over Nina Stojanovic. However, sister Venus, hampered by knee and ankle injuries, crashed out after a 6-1 6-0 defeat by Sara Errani.

A nervous Naomi Osaka dreamt of defeat ahead of her clash with Frenchwoman Caroline Garcia but the reality was a comfortable 6-2 6-3 victory.

Romanian second seed Simona Halep survived a massive scare to defeat local hope Ajla Tomljanovic 4-6 6-4 7-5. Halep trailed 5-2 in the decider but won five consecutive games to book a date with Russian 32nd seed Veronika Kudermetova.

Serena Williams
Serena Williams Photo credit: Getty

The first big upset of the tournament came on Wednesday as eighth seed Bianca Andreescu's comeback after a 15-month absence from tennis was halted with a 6-3 6-2 loss to Taiwanese veteran Hsieh Su-wei.

Following her out the exit door was two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova, who was sent packing 6-4 1-6 6-1 by Romanian Sorana Cirstea.

Former champion Stan Wawrinka was dumped out by Hungarian Marton Fucsovics, who saved three match points en route to a 7-5 6-1 4-6 2-6 7-6(9) win.