Jan 22, 2016 12:56 AM
The Latest: Tsonga advances to 4th round at Australian Open
The Associated Press
MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) The latest from the Australian Open on Friday (all times local):
Former finalist Jo-Wilfried Tsonga has advanced to the fourth round at Melbourne Park with a 6-4, 7-6 (7), 7-6 (4) win over fellow Frenchman Pierre-Hugues Herbert.
Tsonga and qualifier Herbert were two of the five French players into the third round from the 13 who started in the main men's draw.
Tsonga, the 2008 runner-up to Novak Djokovic, reached the round of 16 for the seventh time.
Roger Federer and Grigor Dimitrov experienced a rarity at Rod Laver Arena a rain delay.
Dimitrov had just held serve to start the match when rain began falling and the match was briefly suspended while the roof was closed. It had been closed for Maria Sharapova's earlier three-set win over American Lauren Davis, but it was re-opened for the start of the men's match Friday.
Ball boys and girls used towels to wipe off the court while Federer and Dimitrov took shelter under shades usually used to protect players from the sun.
After about a 15-minute delay, play resumed.
The rain has prevented play Friday on outdoors courts. Seven doubles matches have been postponed.
Maria Sharapova steadied herself and overcame a feisty opponent to beat American Lauren Davis 6-1, 6-7 (5), 6-0 to reach the fourth round.
The five-time Grand Slam winner raced through the first set Friday in just 26 minutes, then struggled through a 77-minute second set before coming back in the third to earn her 600th career win.
Sharapova served 16 aces but made 42 unforced errors, compared to just 34 by her 103rd-ranked opponent.
The No. 5-seeded Sharapova faces Swiss teen Belinda Bencic in the next round and could meet top-ranked rival Serena Williams in the quarterfinals.
Sharapova hasn't beaten Williams since 2004, losing their last 17 meetings, including last year's Australian Open final.
The rain is beginning to clear at Melbourne Park and tournament officials hope to get play on outside courts started.
Seven doubles matches have already been postponed until Saturday, and more could follow. Matches had been scheduled to begin at 11 a.m.
All but two of the 16 third-round men's and women's singles matches were scheduled Friday at the three stadiums which have roofs.
At Rod Laver Arena, the match between fifth-seeded Maria Sharapova and American Lauren Davis has gone to a deciding set after Sharapova won the first set 6-1 and Davis took the second-set tiebreaker 7-6 (5).
Kei Nishikori has reached the fourth round for the fifth consecutive year with a 7-5, 2-6, 6-3, 6-4 win over Spain's Guillermo Garcia-Lopez.
The Japanese player had a medical timeout at the end of the first set for a problem with his wrist, but didn't look impeded as he closed out in the match in just under three hours.
He said after the match that after he got treatment, the wrist "got better."
The seventh-seeded Nishikori saved eight of 11 break points, including three at 5-3 in the third set when he was serving for a two-sets-to-one lead.
Belinda Bencic has become the first player to advance to the fourth round at Melbourne Park with a 4-6, 6-2, 6-4 win over Kateryna Bondarenko in the opening match Friday on Rod Laver Arena.
With the roof closed and play on outdoor courts delayed because of to steady rain, the 12th-seeded Bencic overcame a slow start to dominate the final two sets of the 1 hour, 50-minute match.
Bencic, the first Swiss woman to advance to the final 16 here since Martina Hingis and Patty Schnyder in 2007, will play either fifth-seeded Maria Sharapova or American Lauren Davis in the next round.
Tournament officials said play would not be possible on outdoor courts until at least 2:30 p.m., and the rain was still falling at Melbourne Park.
Rain has delayed the start of play Friday on outdoor courts at the Australian Open.
Play began on time at the three covered stadiums, including a third-round match between 12th-seeded Belinda Bencic of Switzerland and Kateryna Bondarenko of Ukraine on the main Rod Laver Arena.
Over on Margaret Court Arena, seventh-seeded and 2014 U.S. Open finalist Kei Nishikori was playing Guillermo Garcia-Lopez of Spain. At Hisense Arena, David Goffin played Dominic Thiem.
Defending champions Novak Djokovic and Serena Williams were set to play night matches Friday. The top-seeded Djokovic was scheduled to play Andreas Seppi while six-time champion Williams took on Daria Kasatkina of Russia.