There’s something about the month of January that plays into Tennys Sandgren’s favor. Two years ago, he knocked out Top-10 players Stan Wawrinka (No. 8) and Dominic Thiem (No. 5) en route to contesting his first major quarterfinal at the Australian Open, and a year later, picked up his first ATP title in Auckland.
On Wednesday, Sandgren highlighted a string of standout American performances in Melbourne when he ousted No. 8 seed Matteo Berrettini, 7-6 (7), 6-4, 4-6, 2-6, 7-5, in the second round of the season’s first major. With his ranking down to No. 100 after being unable to back up his Auckland performance last week, Sandgren put behind the disappointment of seeing his two-set lead over the Italian dissipate by converting the only break of serve in the decider, before serving out the upset win over the 2019 US Open semifinalist.
In two days, Sandgren will square off against compatriot Sam Querrey, who defeated Ricardas Berankis, 7-6 (2), 4-6, 6-4, 6-4. Sandgren will be seeking revenge after Querrey nabbed their fourth-round contest last year at Wimbledon in four tight sets. Querrey has never been beyond the third round in his 13 previous Australian Open appearances.
Tommy Paul also prevailed in a marathon five-setter to secure his most significant win to date. After earning his first main draw win at a major, the 22-year-old edged No. 18 seed Grigor Dimitrov, 6-4, 7-6(6), 3-6, 6-7(3), 7-6(10-3), in four hours and 19 minutes. Dimitrov was within two points of clinching the comeback win on six occasions, and will not appear in the second week Down Under for the first time since 2016.
Paul will look to extend his run versus unseeded Marton Fucsovics. The Hungarian backed up his win over No. 13 seed Denis Shapovalov with a 6-4, 6-4, 6-3 victory over 2019 ATP Newcomer of the Year Jannik Sinner.
Kenin, the No. 13 seed, dominated an all-American encounter after cruising past qualifier Ann Li, 6-1, 6-3. Kenin broke five times in the 57-minute victory and bids to get into the week two of a major for the second time, after stunning Serena Williams to make the round of 16 at Roland Garros last year.
The 21-year-old will take on former quarterfinalist Zhang Shuai next, and whoever emerges victorious in that matchup will battle the winner of defending champion Naomi Osaka and teenage sensation Coco Gauff. The 15-year-old held her nerve to rally for a 4-6, 7-5, 6-3 victory over Sorana Cirstea.
The 18th-seeded Riske dropped just four games in dismissing China’s Zhu Lin, 6-3, 6-1, to equal her best showing at Melbourne Park. If Riske gets past Julia Goerges in the third round, she could potentially meet world No. 1 Ashleigh Barty, the woman she outclassed at Wimbledon to reach the last eight.
Taylor Townsend notched her first main draw win in four attempts after overcoming countrywoman Jessica Pegula, 6-4, 7-6 (5), in one hour and 49 minutes. The 23-year-old hit 31 winners to 29 unforced errors in eliminating the Auckland runner-up.
At 12:15 a.m., Madison Keys completed the final match of the day. The No. 10 seed and her opponent Arantxa Rus, were moved to Rod Laver Arena, where Keys advanced, 7-6 (3), 6-2. She will next face No. 22 seed Maria Sakkari in a first-time meeting Friday.