Sara Errani beat Venus Williams (R) 6-1, 6-0 in the second round of the Australian Open on Wednesday in Melbourne. Photo by Jason O'Brien/EPA-EFE
Feb. 10 (UPI) -- Novak Djokovic, Naomi Osaka and Serena Williams were among the top players to advance to the third round of the 2021 Australian Open on Wednesday in Melbourne, while Bianca Andreescu and Venus Williams were eliminated.
Djokovic -- the No. 1 player in the ATP rankings -- needed four sets to beat American Frances Tiafoe. The Serbian fired 26 aces, 56 winners and won 11 of the final 13 points in the victory.
Djokovic won the three-and-a-half hour match 6-3, 6-7(3), 7-6(2), 6-3. He'll face another American next, when he battles Taylor Fritz on Friday in Melbourne.
"I want to give a hand to Frances for a great fight," Djokovic told reporters. "It was a fantastic match."
World No. 3 Dominic Thiem beat German Dominik Koepfer in straight sets to advance to the third round. Thiem had seven aces and 34 winners in the 6-4, 6-0, 6-2 win. He'll face Nick Kyrgios in the third round.
No. 9 Diego Schwartzman, No. 12 Denis Shapovalov, No. 14 Milos Raonic and No. 16 Pablo Carreno Busta were among the other top men's players to advance in the singles circuit on Wednesday. Marton Fucsovics upset No. 18 Stan Wawrinka in a five-set thriller that lasted for nearly four hours.
Halep -- the No. 2 player in the WTA rankings -- was the top women's player to advance to the third round on Wednesday, but she needed two hours and 34 minutes to dispatch of Ajla Tomljanovic. Halep fired 28 winners, while her counterpart had 37 winners in the second-round match.
Halep also had fewer aces, won fewer points at the net and was shut out 5-0 in return winners in the 4-6, 6-4, 7-5 victory. The Romanian advances to face Veronika Kudermetova in the third round.
"I know that she's [Tomljanovic] a very tough opponent and I expected it to be a difficult match, but it was more than I thought," Halep said in an on-court interview.
"I was not that positive when I was talking to myself. Mentally, I think I was a little bit stronger and I had the desire to win the match. I didn't want to give up."
Osaka and Serena (No. 11) each advanced with straight-sets victories.
Osaka beat Carolina Garcia 6-2, 6-3 in a 61-minute match. The No. 3 player in the WTA rankings had 10 aces and fired 23 winners in the victory. She'll face Ons Jabeur in her third-round match.
Serena, ranked No. 11, beat Nina Stojanovic 6-3, 6-0 in a 69-minute match at Rod Laver Arena. She continued her hot start to 2021 with six aces and 27 winners in the victory. Serena faces Russia's Anastasia Potapova in her third-round match.
"She [Stojanovic] pushed me very hard and I think she played really well throughout the whole match," Serena told reporters. "So I had to really fight for all the games."
Andreescu, the 2019 U.S. Open champion, failed to advance past the second round of the Australian Open for the third-consecutive year. Taiwan's Su-wei Hsieh beat the third-ranked Canadian 6-3, 6-2 in one hour and 23 minutes on Wednesday in Melbourne.
Italian Sara Errani needed just 75 minutes to dispatch of Venus. Venus -- a seven-time Grand Slam champion -- had more aces and winners in the match, but was doomed by mistakes.
She had 36 unforced errors, compared to Errani's six unforced errors. She also failed to convert on five break-point opportunities, while Errani converted six of 14 break-point chances.
Sorana Cirstea also scored an upset in the second round of the Grand Slam. She beat No. 8 Petra Kvitova 6-4, 1-6, 6-1 to advance to a third-round match against Marketa Vondrousova.
No. 1 Ash Barty, No. 4 Sofia Kenin, No. 5 Elina Svitolina, No. 6 Karolina Pliskova and Coco Gauff are among the top women's players in action on Thursday in Melbourne.
No. 2 Rafael Nadal, No. 6 Stefanos Tsitsipas, No. 4 Daniil Medvedev, No. 8 Andrey Rublev and No. 10 Matteo Berrettini also will compete Thursday in third-round matches.
Serena Williams returns the ball to her sister, Venus, during their match at the Lipton Tennis Championship in Key Biscayne, Fla., on March 28, 1998. Venus Williams, defeated her sister 6-1, 4-6, 6-4. Photo by Susan Knowles/UPI | License Photo