Strong winds batter Australian Open as big names breeze through

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First rain, then sun, and now wind, as extreme weather conditions continued at the Australian Open in Melbourne on Wednesday.

Destructive gusts of up to 60 kilometres per hour battered the city, adding an additional challenge, especially for those players on outdoor courts.

Amid the gales, several big names moved through to the third round, including Roger Federer, Serena Williams, Novak Djokovic, Naomi Osaka, Caroline Wozniacki and Ashleigh Barty.

Federer dominated his unlucky opponent Filip Krajinovic, winning 6-1, 6-4, 6-1. The Serbian's frustration at not being able to dent the old master boiled over in the second set, as he bent his racquet with his foot between games.

Marin Cilic of Croatia serves during the men's singles second round match against Benoit Paire of France at the 2020 Australian Open tennis tournament in Melbourne, Australia, Jan. 22, 2020. (Xinhua/Zhu Hongye)

By contrast, Federer appeared untroubled by the meeting, maintaining his track record of never having missed the third round at an Australian Open.

"I'm very happy. It's a great start to the season so far. I'm feeling really relaxed out on court," Federer said after the match.

Williams also continued to make short work of her opponents, dispatching Slovenia's Tamara Zidansek 6-2, 6-3, and Djokovic took only slightly longer to beat Tatsuma Ito from Japan, winning 6-1, 6-4, 6-2.

Osaka progressed despite struggling with frequent spin shots from China's Zheng Saisai, with a final score of 6-2, 6-4.

The World No. 3 dropped and kicked her racquet after losing serve in the second set, an unusually emotional display from the softly-spoken Japanese player.

"I definitely got very frustrated in the second set. And it's something that I knew would happen but I didn't know exactly what she would do to make me frustrated," Osaka told Xinhua after the match.

"She was slicing and dicing and I was like, can I just hit a winner already? And she was like, no."

World No. 1 and local favorite Ashleigh Barty also wasted no time in reaching round three, dispatching Slovenia's Polona Hercog 6-1, 6-4.

Meanwhile, Denmark's Wozniacki kept her tournament alive by beating Ukraine's Dayana Yastremeska 7-5, 7-5.

Wozniacki, who won the 2018 Australian Open and plans on retiring from tennis after this year's event, accused her opponent of dirty tactics, buying time by calling for medical assistance.

"Obviously she tried to break my rhythm. And at 5-4 I don't think there is anything wrong," Wozniacki told reporters after the match.

"She was running just fine. So that's a trick that she's done before, and I knew it was coming."

While the drawcard names played in the relative shelter of the stadiums, outside it was a different story.

The wind was a constant factor, especially in the earlier hours of the day, with some handling the adverse conditions better than others.

After her 6-2, 6-4 win against the U.S.'s Catherine McNally, China's Zhang Shuai told Xinhua that she had found it particularly difficult to place her shots where she wanted.

"I feel today's wind is very strong so it's difficult to say who is performing well, especially when we play outside," she said.

"It's difficult for us to hit the balls where we want under these conditions. I'm happy to win because it's not easy."

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