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In a post-match TV interview, she asked presenter Rennae Stubbs a favor, saying her brother-in-law phoned her from Belgium to ask if she could convince the crowd to sing a birthday song for Elke, Clijsters‘ younger sister.

The crowd obliged, after Clijsters kicked it off.

Li took longer for her second-round win, saying it was harder than the scoreline suggested. She also has fond memories of Melbourne

Her form dipped after the French Open, with losses in the second round at Wimbledon and the first round at the U.S. Open, until she returned to Australia.

Coming off a run to the final at last week’s Sydney International, Li was the first woman into the third round.

Li, who will be 30 next month and is seeded No. 5 at Melbourne Park, said she had great memories of the start of 2011.

“I’m feeling always good to come back to Rod Laver Arena,” she said, reflecting on how her life had changed dramatically since last season started. “This year is much better than last year _ more fans come to watch me play, not only from China but all over the world.”

Serena Williams advanced to the second round in a match that finished after midnight, her ankle holding up to its first test since she sprained it in Brisbane two weeks ago. The only thing that bugged her, despite the 11:32 p.m. start on Tuesday, were the insects in a 6-3, 6-2 win over Tamira Paszek.

“I hate bugs more than you can imagine,” Williams said. “Like, they kept jumping on me. Yuck!”

“I’m going to request not to play at night anymore because I hate bugs, except for the final. I heard it’s at night,” Williams said. “I’ll try to get used to them.”

She’s now on a 15-match winning streak at Melbourne Park with back-to-back titles in 2009-10 and missing last year due to injuries.

Williams was playing only her third match since losing the U.S. Open final to Sam Stosur last September, so she admitted being “a wee bit tight.” Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova and No. 4-ranked Maria Sharapova also advanced.

Stosur didn’t make the second round, losing 7-6 (2), 6-3 to No. 59-ranked Sorana Cirstea, but fans hung around to watch another Aussie hope. Hewitt, a two-time major winner, gave the night session crowd something to cheer when he beat Cedrik-Marcel Stebe of Germany 7-5, 6-4, 3-6, 7-5, winning the last six games to overcome two service breaks in the last set.

Hewitt’s win put him into a second-round match against old rival Andy Roddick.

Defending champion Novak Djokovic beat Paolo Lorenzi of Italy 6-2, 6-0, 6-0. Both the men he has beaten in Australian finals advanced in four sets. Andy Murray, runner-up the last two years, defeated American teenager Ryan Harrison and 2008 runnerup Jo-Wilfried Tsonga eliminated Denis Istomin.