Serena Williams, Federer, Murray Advance at Hot Australian Open
Serena Williams overcame another mishap to join top-seeded Victoria Azarenka in the third round of the Australian Open on the hottest day so far at the Grand Slam tennis tournament. Roger Federer and Andy Murray also won in straight sets.
Williams, the No. 3 seed from the U.S., followed Azarenka’s win yesterday on Rod Laver Arena with a 6-2, 6-0 victory over Garbine Muguruza of Spain, finishing off with a 207 kilometer- per-hour (129 mile-per-hour) ace, the fastest serve in the women’s draw.
After rolling her ankle in the first round, the 15-time Grand Slam champion hit herself in the mouth with her racket in the sixth game while chasing down a ball on the baseline. She recovered to take the first set and, following an 18-minute game to open the second, closed out the win in 75 minutes.
“One day I twist my ankle, today I hit myself in the face,” Williams, 31, said in a televised courtside interview. “Who knows what’s next? I’m hoping to just hit some winners on Saturday.”
Williams, the bookmakers’ favorite to win her sixth Australian Open, extended her winning streak to 18 matches as she seeks a third straight major title. She said her right ankle felt better following ice and massage treatment.
“I didn’t feel anything today,” Williams, who plays Ayumi Morita of Japan tomorrow, said in a news conference. “Obviously when you go out to play you’re heavy on adrenaline and you’re really pumped up. Usually I feel injuries after the match, but so far, so good.”
Heat to Ease
After temperatures yesterday in Melbourne reached 39 degrees Celsius (102 Fahrenheit), today’s forecast calls for a high of 29 degrees as defending men’s champion Novak Djokovic of Serbia meets Czech Radek Stepanek and women’s No. 2 Maria Sharapova of Russia takes on seven-time major winner Venus Williams of the U.S. in third-round matches. No. 4 seeds Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland and David Ferrer of Spain are also in action.
Defending champion Azarenka of Belarus beat 94th-ranked Eleni Daniilidou of Greece 6-1, 6-0 to open play yesterday. The 23-year-old Azarenka, who won her first major title 12 months ago, said she was getting her rhythm and focus back after her preparations were disrupted by a toe injury caused by a pedicure.
“I felt really good,” Azarenka, who next plays American Jamie Hampton, told reporters. “I was focused. It was definitely something that I stepped up from my first match. I was in the zone trying to execute all of my shots.”
Britain’s Laura Robson upset No. 8 Petra Kvitova, the 2011 Wimbledon champion from the Czech Republic, 2-6, 6-3, 11-9 in a three-hour match that ended about 12:30 a.m. The 18-year-old next takes on 29th-seeded Sloane Stephens of the U.S.
No. 16 Roberta Vinci of Italy won in straight sets, as did 10th-seeded Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark, No. 14 Maria Kirilenko from Russia and No. 20 Yanina Wickmayer of Belgium.
Kimiko Date-Krumm, 42, didn’t fade in the high temperatures in moving on with a 6-2, 7-5 win against Israel’s Shahar Peer. The victory made her the oldest woman to reach the third round of a Grand Slam since Renee Richards at the 1979 U.S. Open.
Murray, who secured his first major in New York last year, beat Portugal’s Joao Sousa 6-2, 6-2, 6-4.
He next faces Lithuanian qualifier Ricardas Berankis, who defeated No. 25 seed Florian Mayer of Germany. Murray, who prepared for the Australian summer by training in Miami and tuned up for Melbourne by defending his Brisbane International title, said he was glad to finish the match in three sets.
“There were very few long rallies,” Murray, 25, told reporters. “So it worked out well for me because it was really, really tough conditions.”
Federer opened evening play on Rod Laver Arena with a 6-3, 6-4, 6-4 win against Russia’s Nikolay Davydenko, setting up a third-round matchup with Bernard Tomic, the only Australian remaining in either singles draw.
Tomic, who won his first ATP World Tour title in Sydney last weekend and beat top-ranked Novak Djokovic at the Hopman Cup team event in Perth earlier this month, beat German qualifier Daniel Brands.
“I’m ready,” Tomic said of his match against 17-time Grand Slam champion Federer. “I do have the belief now. It’s possible. I showed that in Perth, that you can beat these players. Now I’m going to try to beat him.”
No. 7 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, ninth-seeded Richard Gasquet and Gilles Simon, the No. 14 seed, were among five Frenchman to advance. Sixth-seeded Juan Martin del Potro of Argentina and No. 12 Marin Cilic of Croatia also won.
Milos Raonic of Canada, the No. 13 seed, set up a third- round matchup with 17th-seeded Philipp Kohlschreiber of Germany after both won in straight sets.
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