Frances Tiafoe and Jannik Sinner both earned rapid-fire wins in John Cain Arena on Wednesday to book their places in the Australian Open third round. Tiafoe was a straight-sets winner against China’s Shang Juncheng after Sinner breezed past Tomas Martin Etcheverry, with both matches finishing in under two hours.

The 16th-seeded Tiafoe was a 6-4, 6-4, 6-1 winner against Shang, who qualified to earn his Grand Slam debut at age 17.  

“I played an unbelievable player,” the American said post-match. “He’s going to be an unbelievable player, he already is a really good player. It’s tough playing someone that young. You know they’re coming for you, but I thought I did a good job. I played really well today.”

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Tiafoe finished with 20 aces and 40 winners, and he did not drop serve in the match, saving all four break points against him. Thriving in the electric atmosphere in John Cain Arena — which he did his part to fuel as he turned on the style — the American sprinted through the finish line by winning the final six games of the match.

“I had a lot of fun out here today. It’s probably my favourite court here at the Australian Open… a lot of good memories on this court,” he said of the stadium setting. “It’s just rowdy. The biggest court with grounds passes. You get your real tennis fans who just want to have some fun and get excited about something.”

The American will next face 18th seed Karen Khachanov or Australian wild card Jason Kubler.

Opening play on the stadium court, Sinner earned his second straight-sets victory of the Australian Open fortnight, breezing past Etcheverry 6-3, 6-2, 6-2.

While some first-round matches have yet to be completed due to rain, the 21-year-old Italian took full advantage of his opportunity on one of three roofed courts at Melbourne Park where he raced into the third round in one hour, 44 minutes.

“I am very happy to be in the next round,” Sinner said in his on-court interview, before thanking the fans for their support. “Very happy to play again here on this court, especially today, with the roof. Outside it’s raining a lot, so hopefully it’s not going to rain in the next days.

“For sure the level today was good. I served well. I returned very good also today because I think he’s a very good server.”

That was some performance 😳

Jannik Sinner drops just 7️⃣ games against Etcheverry!

#AusOpen#AO2023 pic.twitter.com/JtK8q4g3IE

— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 18, 2023

The 15th seed cruised to victory by converting on all five of his break points, while not allowing a break chance on his own serve. Dictating the bulk of the rallies both on serve and return, firing 32 winners, he drove home his advantage by attacking the net 22 times, winning 20 of those points.

A six-time champion on the ATP Tour, Sinner reached the AO quarter-finals for the first time last year before falling to Stefanos Tsitsipas. The pair is seeded to meet again in this year’s fourth round, though the Italian must first beat Lloyd Harris or Marton Fucsovics and Tsitsipas must also battle into the last 16.

With Matteo Berrettini’s five-set defeat to Andy Murray in the first round, Sinner is now the top-ranked Italian in the Pepperstone ATP Live Rankings. Holding firm at No. 16 this week, Sinner is one place ahead of countryman Lorenzo Musetti, who lost to Harris in the opening round.

Argentina’s Etcheverry, 23, was bidding to reach the third round at a Grand Slam for the first time in five attempts. The World No. 79 finished the 2022 season with the second-most match wins on the ATP Challenger Tour (41), winning his third title at that level and reaching four additional finals on the year.

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