Williams Sisters, Djokovic Win as Keys Beats Kvitova

Serena and Venus Williams each survived after losing the first set to reach the fourth round at the Australian Open tennis tournament.

Men’s top seed Novak Djokovic of Serbia was also tested in the first set by Spaniard Fernando Verdasco in his 7-6 (10-8), 6-3, 6-4 victory.

Serena Williams, the women’s top seed, beat Elina Svitolina of Ukraine 4-6, 6-2, 6-0 on the first Saturday of the Grand Slam tennis tournament in Melbourne to set up a meeting with No. 24 seed Garbine Muguruza from Spain.

There will be four American women in the final 16 after 19-year-old Madison Keys upset Wimbledon champion and fourth seed Petra Kvitova of the Czech Republic 6-4, 7-5.

Venus, the 18th seed, defeated Camila Giorgi of Italy 4-6, 7-6 (7-3), 6-1 and will vie for a quarterfinal spot with Agnieszka Radwanska, the No. 6 seed from Poland who overcame Varvara Lepchenko of the U.S. 6-0, 7-5.

“She’s winning, she’s doing so well and I can do better,” Serena Williams said of her older sister. “We always motivate each other.”

Djokovic got 73 percent of his first serves in against the big-hitting Spaniard who had 16 aces to Djokovic’s 11. Still the world No. 1 had more winners overall and half as many unforced errors as Verdasco’s 50.

“I did serve very well,” Djokovic said before leading the crowd at the Rod Laver Arena in singing “Happy Birthday” to his mother. “I had go to stay composed and I decided to go for accuracy and precision.”

Wawrinka Advances

Defending men’s champion Stan Wawrinka defeated Jarkko Nieminen of Finland 6-4, 6-2, 6-4 to set up a fourth-round encounter with unseeded Spaniard Guillermo Garcia-Lopez, who breezed past Canadian Vasek Pospisil 6-2, 6-4, 6-4.

No. 9 David Ferrer of Spain beat Frenchman Gilles Simon 6-2, 7-5, 5-7, 7-6 (7-4).

Fifth seed Kei Nishikori of Japan, who reached the finals of the 2014 U.S. Open, beat American Steve Johnson 6-7 (7-9), 6-1, 6-2, 6-3.

Gilles Muller of Luxembourg upset John Isner 7-6 (7-4), 7-6 (8-6), 6-4, eliminating the last American man in the singles draw.

Keys, ranked 35th in world, hit serves that reached 194 kilometers per hour (121 miles per hour). She won the Wimbledon warm-up tournament at Eastbourne last year.

“I’m still shaking,” Keys said in an on-court interview. “I’m happy I served that game out so well.” She is now coached by Lindsay Davenport, who won the Australian Open in 2000, and her husband Jon Leach.

Fourth Round

She’ll play fellow American Madison Brengle next, who beat countrywoman Coco Vanderweghe 6-3, 6-2.

In the fourth round on Sunday, second seed Maria Sharapova takes on Peng Shuai, the No. 21 from China. No. 3 Simona Halep faces Yanina Wickmayer from Belgium and Canada’s Eugenie Bouchard plays Irina-Camelia Begu of Romania.

Rafael Nadal plays Kevin Anderson of South Africa while Andy Murray faces off with Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov, who ousted the Briton from the Wimbledon quarterfinals last year. Tomas Berdych of the Czech Republic takes on Australian Bernard Tomic.

Another local favorite, Nick Kyrgios, plays Andreas Seppi, who upset No. 2 Roger Federer in the third round.

Serena Williams, 33, claimed the last of her five Australian Open titles in 2010. She won the U.S. Open for a sixth time last year to take her tally of major singles titles to 18, tied with Chris Evert and Martina Navratilova.

Venus -- whose best finish in Melbourne was runner-up to Serena in 2003 -- earned the last of her seven major singles titles at Wimbledon in 2008. The 34-year-old last reached the fourth round at a Grand Slam tournament at Wimbledon in 2011. She last got past the third round at the Australian Open in 2010, when she was a quarterfinalist.

Tricks Left

“Well, this old cat has a few tricks left,” Venus said in an on-court interview. “I like to win titles, whether it’s a smaller event or a big event. That’s what I play for. So, yes, it’s great to be in the second week but is the fourth round my goal when I come to these tournaments? No.”

Serena’s next opponent, the 21-year-old Muguruza, didn’t drop a game in her decisive third set against unseeded Timea Bacsinszky of Switzerland.

Dominika Cibulkova went through with a straight-sets win over Alize Cornet of France. Cibulkova, the No. 11 seed from Slovakia, will next play Victoria Azarenka of Belarus, who eliminated 25th seed Barbora Zahlavova Strycova of the Czech Republic 6-4, 6-4. The winner of that match will face Serena Williams or Muguruza for a place in the semifinals.

Milos Raonic, the No. 8 seed from Canada, advanced with a straight-sets win over Benjamin Becker of Germany. Raonic, a semifinalist at Wimbledon last year, will next play 12th-seeded Feliciano Lopez of Spain, who needed two tiebreaks to get past Jerzy Janowicz from Poland in straight sets.

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