Before the tournament began, Stan Wawrinka stated that just participating in Melbourne was a victory in and of itself.
One hopes he still feels the same after bowing out of the tournament to the aptly-named American Tennys Sandgren, who advanced courtesy of a 6-2, 6-1, 6-4 victory.
While Wawrinka’s first round victory over Ricardas Berankis raised hopes that he could get somewhere near the level that saw him win this tournament in 2014, here he looked like what he was: a player that was returning from six months out and knee surgery.
Clearly struggling and at times looking like he might not finish the match, Wawrinka hit 35 unforced errors and won a total of 59 points to Sandgren’s 90. Credit must go to Sandgren, though, who produced an extremely solid performance - particularly on serve - to reach the third round.
Wawrinka, meanwhile, clearly still has a way to go on his road to a full recovery, and will now drop out of the top 10 for the first time in four and a half years.
"If I look really back, I only had surgery five months ago, five months and three days. To be this far already, it's more than what we could have expect with my team.," said Wawrinka after match.
“I need to take what I can to be positive with everything, with the big picture. That's the most important.”
Barty comes back again
Ashleigh Barty kept home hopes alive after coming back from a set down for a second successive match, this time beating Camila Giorgi 5-7, 6-4, 6-1.
Giorgi entered the tournament as one of the tour’s form players, having reached the final of the Sydney International last week.
And the Italian maintained that hot-streak in the first set, showcasing her trademark power hitting as she claimed the opener.
The second set was a high quality, topsy-turvy affair that featured two breaks apiece, but Barty claimed a decisive fifth break in a thrilling game to force a third set.
There, Barty asserted her control over the match, wrapping up proceedings in 28 minutes to advance into the third round.
Roger Federer eased into the third round of the Australian Open with a 6-4, 6-4, 7-6(4) win over Jan-Lennard Struff.
Producing his usual brand of rapid-fire, offensive, the Swiss was always in control of proceedings here, although he was challenged in the third set, with Stuff both breaking his serve and forcing a tie-break.
But the defending champion had too much for his opponent in the crucial moments, and his experience told in the tie-break, where he capitalised on Stuff errors to seal his passage into the next round.
Around the Grounds
No.4 seed Alexander Zverev prevailed in four sets against his fellow German Peter Gojowczyk, triumphing 6-1, 6-3, 4-6, 6-3. Another German also advanced in the form of Max Marterer, who beat Fernando Verdasco in five sets.