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Williams, Djokovic into 3rd round in Australia
Question of the Day
It’s OK, she thought, it’s the good ankle. After sitting and watching Barbora Zahlavova Strycova’s shot float out to end the penultimate rally, Williams got up and whipped a backhand winner down the line on match point to move into the third round with a 6-0, 6-4 victory on Thursday.
It improved her career record to 500-104 in tour matches and it was her 16th consecutive match win at Melbourne Park, where she has won five of her 13 Grand Slam titles.
“It’s totally fine. It was my good ankle, so I’m good,” she said, playing down concern that the fall had aggravated the left ankle sprain which hampered her preparation for the season’s first major. “There was no extra pain. I twisted it. But it’s all taped up, so the tape really, really helped.”
She’d earlier put it down to just having “wobbly ankles.”
“I wasn’t meant to be a ballerina or anything,” she told a post-match TV interview. It seems she was meant to be a tennis pro. Her older sister, Venus, has a win-loss record of 589-147 but is missing the Australian Open to recover from illness.
“I knew I had to get there too, because I do everything she does,” said Williams, “It’s great, it’s like the ultimate.”
“The first thing I asked, of course, ‘Is there anyone that achieved a thousand?’” There’s been two: Martina Navratilova had a career record 1,442-219, and Chris Evert retired with a 1,309-146 record.
“I never will get there either, but it’s really cool,” Williams said. “Five hundred is a lot of matches to play, let alone to win.”
Novak Djokovic won the last men’s title to kick off a stunning season, which started with a 41-match winning streak and finished with three of the four majors and the No. 1 ranking.
His 6-3, 6-2, 6-1 win over Santiago Giraldo of Colombia on Thursday was his 16th in a row in majors and keeps him on track to become only the fifth man in the Open era to win three consecutive Grand Slam singles tournaments.
Sixth-seeded Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, who lost the 2008 Australian final to Djokovic, advanced 7-5, 6-4, 6-4 over Ricardo Mello of Brazil, while No. 5 David Ferrer struggled early against American Ryan Sweeting before coming back to win 6-7 (4), 6-2, 3-6, 6-2, 6-3
No. 9 Janko Tipsarevic, No. 23 Milos Raonic of Canada and No. 27 Juan Ignacio Chela also progressed. Frenchman Michael Llodra beat No. 32 Alex Bogomolov Jr. 6-1, 6-3, 4-6, 5-7, 6-4 and Portugal’s Frederico Gil beat No. 26 Marcel Granollers in four sets.
On the women’s side, No. 2 Petra Kvitova scraped into the third round with a nervous 6-2, 2-6, 6-4 win over Carla Suarez Navarro.
Kvitova, who lost in the first round at the U.S. Open in the first major after winning Wimbledon, lost the second set and was down a break in the third before recovering to beat the Spaniard.
“In the beginning it was OK but I made many, many, many mistakes,” Kvitova said of her 48 unforced errors. “It’s part of my game but it’s too many. It was very tough to get back in the third set.”
Maria Sharapova, one of the three former champions in the women’s draw, reached the third round after just two hours on court in two matches.
The 2008 champion had a 6-0, 6-1 second-round win over U.S. qualifier Jamie Hampton in 64 minutes.
Sharapova did not play in any warmup events and spent nearly two weeks in Melbourne ahead of the season’s first major while she rested an injured left ankle.
“It was more about getting my feet going … worrying about myself,” Sharapova said. “Yeah, started my preparations in the offseason a little late, took a bit of extra time in practice instead of rushing into a tournament.”
She’ll meet No. 30 Angelique Kerber, who beat Canada’s Stephanie Dubois 7-5, 6-1.
Seventh-seeded Vera Zvonareva, a two-time semifinalist at Melbourne Park, had a 6-1, 7-6 (3) over Lucie Hradecka . No. 21 Ana Ivanovic also advanced, beating Dutch player Michaella Krajicek 6-2, 6-3.
Three seeded players were ousted, with China’s Zheng Jie beating No. 23 Roberta Vinci, Sara Errani beating No. 29 Nadia Petrova, No. 25 Kaia Kanepi losing to Ekaterina Makarova.
Defending champion Kim Clijsters is on the other half of the draw and advanced to the third round on Wednesday along with top-ranked Caroline Wozniacki, No. 3 Victoria Azarenka and former No. 1-ranked Jelena Jankovic.
Clijsters will next face longtime friend Daniela Hantuchova in the third round, and a win there could set up a fourth-round match against French Open champion Li Na, a rematch of the 2011 Australian final.
On the bottom half of the men’s draw, No. 2 Rafael Nadal advanced without much trouble from his injured right knee or from German veteran Tommy Haas in a 6-4, 6-3, 6-4 win. Four-time champion Roger Federer didn’t even need to pick up a racket because Andreas Beck withdrew from their second-round match.
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