17 Jan 2019

Young American shocks Anderson

6:40 am on 17 January 2019

Australian Open fifth seed Kevin Anderson lost his second round match to Frances Tiafoe 4-6 6-4 6-4 7-5 in a major upset on the third day of the Grand Slam.

American tennis player Frances Tiafoe.

American tennis player Frances Tiafoe. Photo: Actionplus/Photosport

The Wimbledon finalist took a medical time-out mid-way through the four-set match before becoming the highest ranked player to be ousted from the first major of the year.

After sealing match point against the South African, Tiafoe slapped his right bicep, thumped his chest and roared at the terraces.

"It means the world to me, I lost to Kevin three times last year.

"I would love to get to the second week of a Slam and if you guys get behind me like you did again, then it's going to be pretty easy for me," Tiafoe said.

American Tiafoe, ranked 39 in the world, will play Italy's Andreas Seppi in the third round, which will at least equal his best performance at a Grand Slam, having made the third round of Wimbledon last year.

Joining Tiafoe in the last 32 were second seed Rafael Nadal and defending champion Roger Federer, the third seed.

Nadal picked apart second round opponent Matthew Ebden 6-3 6-2 6-2, in a near flawless display of top-spinning artistry.

The Spaniard overcame an early first set challenge from the Australian, who should have secured a break-of-serve with the scores locked at 3-3.

Ebden missed a backhand volley off an unexceptional passing shot - and it proved costly.

The Australian was broken the next game, succumbing with a double-fault, and the Spaniard went through the broken line of defence, securing the set and an early break in the second.

"I started a little bit slow ... then I saved that game at three-all," Nadal said.

"After that, things changed. I think I played well."

Sensing an early end to the proceedings, the crowd tried to lift one of its few remaining local hopes, while at the same time being dazzled by the Spaniard's control of the court.

The 17-times Grand Slam winner was never seriously challenged again, and the third set became an exhibition match.

At one stage, Ebden simply shrugged after Nadal unleashed a wild forehand winner that was yet completely under control.

Nadal, who showed no signs of discomfort from a thigh strain that troubled him ahead of the first major of the year, will play Alex de Minaur in the third round, marking his third consecutive match against an Australian.

Meanwhile Federer lost his temper over Melbourne rain as he overcame a sluggish start and plucky British opponent to move into a 20th-straight Australian Open third round.

The Swiss great, chasing his seventh title at Melbourne Park, downed party boy Daniel Evans 7-6 (7-5) 7-6 (7-3) 6-3 in round two on Wednesday.

In a rare daytime appearance at Rod Laver Arena, Federer flung a terse remark at chair umpire Marijana Veljovic, who asked if the court was still playable when rain started to fall late in the first set.

"It's always playable until a leg gets broken. I'd rather wait a little bit", the defending champion said.

The match was halted briefly before world No 189 Evans, on the comeback trail after serving a one-year ban for testing positive to cocaine, pushed the set to a tiebreak.

Evans had the set on his racquet at 5-4 in the tiebreak but lost the next three points.

Federer, who breezed part Uzbekistan's Denis Istomin in the opening round, admitted his start was sluggish.

"I couldn't pull away early in the match. The margins were slim. I was happy to win that first set. It was big," he said.

Evans hit just two unforced errors in the first set and made 14 for the match, three fewer than Federer.

"I've seen him play some really good matches over the years," Federer said of the one-time world No 41.

"I see why he can cause difficulties to players. He has the variation, which is always a hard thing to play against."

The win means Federer has more singles victories at the Australian Open than Wimbledon - 96 compared to his 95 at the All England club.

He'll meet Taylor Fritz for a place in the fourth round after the young American beat Frenchman Gael Monfils, the 30th seed, in four sets.

- Reuters, AAP