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Wednesday, 18 January 2017 09:35 AM GMT
Australian Open Day 3: Federer, Venus battle through rounds up the action from the third day session at the 2017 Australian Open. READ MORE

For all the rumblings about the next generation coming through, the old guard continue to remain solid and on day three of the Australian Open, two of the biggest of them all advanced to the third round.

The Roger Federer comeback continued as he advanced past talented American Noah Rubin in straight sets, while Venus Williams battled through a niggling elbow injury to take her place in round three.  

The fickle Melbourne weather was at it again as temperatures peaked at 20 degrees Celsius, around 17 degrees lower than the stifling stuff produced on Tuesday.

Combined with a tricky wind, it made for tough conditions and Federer had to work hard to fend off Rubin, a young American who spent part of his training at the John McEnroe academy in New York.

Rubin, one of the fastest players on Tour, looked at home on Rod Laver Arena and though Federer took the opening two sets, Rubin should have won the third after he led 5-2, only to let Federer back in as he clinched a 7-5, 6-3, 7-6 win.

It wasn’t vintage Federer – somewhat unsurprising given he’s only just returned after six months out – and he admits he’s going to have to improve if he is going to beat Tomas Berdych in the next round.

“I know I've got to lift my game a little bit,” he said. “But then again, I haven't seen Tomas play a lot, to be honest. (It is) super-early in the draw.

The court plays fast, like I said. He's caused difficulties for me in the past on faster courts: Cincinnati, New York, Wimbledon, Olympics in Athens.

"I know what he's got. I don't need to tell you where he's beaten me.

"Then again, I've played him here, played him on many occasions, as well, when it went my way.

"I've just got to play on my terms and really be focused on my own service games to make sure I don't have any lapses there.”

At 36, Venus Williams is a year older than Federer but she made quick work of Stephanie Voegele of Switzerland, cruising through 6-3, 6-2.

However, an elbow injury means she won’t be partnering sister Serena in the doubles, focusing instead on being 100 percent for the singles, where she next plays Ying-Ying Duan of China.

“I’ve played against some of the greats, Steffi Graf,” Venus said.

“I’ve even had a chance to play against Martina Navratilova so it’s been an honour and a privilege to I guess start that young and, play this old," she said.

Around the grounds

World No.1 and defending champion Angelique Kerber survived a mid-match wobble before beating fellow German Carina Witthoeft 6-1, 6-7, 6-2.

The top seed’s serve went AWOL in the second-set tiebreak but she survived to set up a meeting with Kristyna Pliskova, the twin sister of her 2016 US Open final opponent Karolina.

And on the day she turned 29, Kerber was greeted with a rendition of Happy Birthday from the crowd inside Rod Laver Arena.

Elina Svitolina, Eugenie Bouchard and former world No.1 Jelena Jankovic also advanced to the third round, while Stan Wawrinka, Kei Nishikori, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Berdych all recorded straight-sets wins.

Shock of the day

John Isner must have been feeling envious of Ivo Karlovic and Horacio Zeballos after their mammoth battle on day two, for when the No.19 seed stood at 7-7 in the final set against Mischa Zverev, it looked like he was in it for the long haul.

Thoughts turned to Isner's marathon encounter with Nicolas Mahut at The Championships 2010, but Zverev, who is enjoying a new lease of life on court, won 9-7 in the fifth.

Tears flowed from the German as the magnitude of the result sank in - it secured his passage into the third round of a Grand Slam for the first time since The Championships 2008.

Tweet of the day

Victoria Azarenka has been giving her baby boy an early education in tennis...

Moment of the day

At the start of the Federer-Rubin match, umpire Jon Blom asked a boy called Nicholas to nominate which of the two players was his favourite, to let them call heads or tails.

The young boy took his role very seriously and yelled “ROGER FEDERER”.

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