Nishikori back from brink to overcome Karlovic in thriller

Kei Nishikori dropped to the court in joy after beating Ivo Karlovic at the Australian Open Thursday

"So far I'm not sure it's working". "Yeah, these two matches can go, you know, I could lose these two matches".

Plagued with injuries in the a year ago and half or so, Raonic is looking very strong here in Melbourne, firing booming serves and standing tall from the baseline as well, finishing today's test with 84 winners (39 aces) and just 44 unforced errors.

When that comment was met with laughter, Karlovic responded: "Not amusing".

"I have to be happy to go to the next round because I nearly lost today".

In the fourth, Nishikori had a chance to pull ahead in the eighth game, but failed to capitalize on two break point chances.

"It is easy, after all, to say I should have done this, should have done that", Karlovic said. It could have gone either way.

Japan's Kei Nishikori survived a scare before advancing to the second round of the Australian Open.

The pair had been on court for two hours and 48 minutes on another hot day in Melbourne when Majchrzak, a grand slam rookie, pulled the pin.

Raonic thumped 39 aces, serving especially impeccably in the last three tiebreaks.

"I was very fortunate to stay alive in that fourth set".

The world No. 4 Osaka started her campaign for her second straight Grand Slam victory in strong shape, firing six aces and 30 winners.

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Eleventh seed Aryna Sabalenka, widely tipped as a potential future champion, also safely negotiated round one on a hot day. Chuckling even further, Nadal added: "I know, you were closing your eyes to be more focused on what I was saying".

She has reached the semifinals at four of her past five tournaments.

January sees the tennis season blaze into life on the scorching hard courts of Melbourne Park.

Raonic had plenty to do with that, of course, including in the third-set tiebreaker, when he served his way out of trouble.

Rain showers halted play on all courts soon after Nishikori's win, forcing organizers to close the roofs of the three main show courts.

The second-round match between 2014 champion Stan Wawrinka and Milos Raonic was level at 4-4 in the third set at Rod Laver after Wawrinka won the first set and Raonic the second, both in tiebreakers.

Nishikori, the 2014 US Open finalist, will next play towering Croatian Ivo Karlovic, a 6-7 (5-7) 7-6 (7-5) 7-6 (7-3) 7-6 (7-5) victor over Pole Hubert Hurkacz.

Nishikori, who is seeded ninth, lost the first two sets against his Polish opponent.

Wawrinka's three set points there came at 6-5, when Raonic delivered a serve at 129 miles per hour (208 kph) followed by a forehand volley victor; at 8-7, when Raonic's 125 miles per hour (201 kph) serve drew a missed return; and at 10-9, when an ace at 132 miles per hour (213 kph) did the trick. But a backhand long and service return long by Karlovic allowed Nishikori to retake the lead that he didn't relinquish. Karlovic broke to love with the score at 5-5 and won the set with four straight aces.

Madison Keys is through to the third round at Melbourne Park after a 6-3, 6-4 win over Anastasia Potapova.

Nishikori - the first Asian man to make a grand slam final in 2014 - appeared in the clear when leading the final tiebreak 6-3.

Hsieh Su-wei also advanced by beating Laura Siegemund 6-3, 6-4. She also sent down seven aces and had 14 service winners.

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