MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — A quarterfinal loss to Stan Wawrinka at the Australian Open in 2014 ended Novak Djokovic’s 25-match winning streak at Melbourne Park, which included titles in 2011, 2012 and 2013.
The No. 1-ranked Djokovic started another Melbourne streak last year when he won a fifth Australian Open title, and he extended his winning streak to eight matches with a first-round win over Chung Hyeon on Monday.
On Wednesday, he’ll attempt to extend that to nine matches when he plays wildcard entry Quentin Halys of France.
Djokovic, who won his first major in 2008 at Melbourne Park, said his continuing success in Australia is no surprise.
“Every time I go back to Rod Laver Arena, I have these memories come back to me from the first win back in 2008, and, of course, some of the epic matches I’ve played on that court,” Djokovic said. “Again, I’ll try my best, as anybody else. I’m here to start from the very beginning, to start from the scratch, and see where it takes me.”
Second-round singles matches in the top half of the men’s and women’s draws begin Wednesday, and here are some other things to watch:
BACK ON TRACK? Eugenie Bouchard’s career has been like a roller-coaster over the past two years. The Canadian made the semifinals of the Australian Open and French Open and the Wimbledon final in 2014, when her year-end ranking improved to a career-best No. 7 — at the age of 20. Then she experienced a clump of mediocre results and first-round losses which saw her ranking slump to 48 by the end of last year. A fall on a slippery floor in a dressing room at the U.S. Open and resulting concussion which led to a lengthy layoff didn’t help. But Bouchard’s start to 2016 has been good, advancing to the quarterfinals at the Shenzhen Open in China, then the Hobart International final last week. Her comeback faces its biggest test on Wednesday when she plays No. 4-seeded Agnieszka Radwanska in the second round. Radwanska beat Bouchard in straight sets on clay in their only career meeting at the Madrid Masters in 2014.
FEDERER’S FOES: Four-time champion Roger Federer beat Nikoloz Basilashvili of Georgia in the first round on Monday, and next faces Ukraine’s Alexandr Dolgopolov on Wednesday in an afternoon match on Rod Laver Arena. Federer has beaten Dolgopolov twice on hard courts in their only previous meetings, including the first time they played when Dolgopolov retired injured while trailing 6-4, 5-2 at the Swiss Indoors in Federer’s hometown of Basel. Still, the pair have become good friends.
“I think it’s going to be very tough, to be honest,” Federer said. “I’ve practiced with Dolgopolov in the offseason in Dubai. Had some great sessions together there, this year and last year. I know him very well. Dolgopolov is a different player, a different level. He’s been there before. He’s got the fitness, the power, the speed, tennis IQ, all that. It’s going to be a big challenge.”
ROUNDING IT OUT: Elsewhere Wednesday, the top three women on the top half of the draw all play on Rod Laver Arena. No. 1 Serena Williams takes on Hsieh Su-wei after No. 5 Maria Sharapova opens the day on center court against Aliaksandra Sasnovich. Radwanska plays Bouchard to open night play. Another highly-seeded woman, two-time Wimbledon champion and No. 6 Petra Kvitova, plays Australian Daria Gavrilova in a night match at Margaret Court Arena.