Williams, Djokovic dominate, move into 4th round of Australian Open

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Kvitova was leading 6-0, 1-0 when Russian opponent Maria Kirilenko retired. Sharapova, who won her first two matches 6-0, 6-1, was tested for the first time and still came out with a 6-1, 6-2 win over U.S. Open semifinalist Angelique Kerber.

Like Williams, Sharapova came into the tournament short of matches. The three-time Grand Slam champion hurt her left ankle late last season and didn’t play a tuneup event before the Australian Open.

“Whether it’s a Grand Slam or anywhere else in the world, if you’re committed to playing that tournament you have to be ready from the first match,” Sharapova said.

It was a day of lopsided scorelines on Rod Laver Arena.

No. 1-ranked Novak Djokovic routed Nicolas Mahut 6-0, 6-1, 6-1 in 1 hour, 14 minutes to give the Frenchman a miserable 30th birthday present.

Mahut, who lost the longest Grand Slam match in history over 11 hours, 5 minutes at Wimbledon in 2010, was hampered by a left leg injury, but said he played because the previous matches on Rod Laver Arena were over so quickly.

“I wish him happy birthday and hopefully tonight he can enjoy it,” Djokovic said.

The defending champion has won 24 straight sets at the Australian Open, and has lost 10 games in his first three matches this time.

“I always played well in Australia. This is the only Grand Slam I won twice,” he said. “The conditions are great. They’re very suitable to my style of the game, day and night. I’m really looking forward to next week.”

Djokovic likely gets an evening slot for his fourth-round match against Lleyton Hewitt. The 30-year-old Australian downed promising Canadian Milos Raonic 4-6, 6-3, 7-6 (5), 6-3 in Saturday’s final match of the day before a raucous home crowd.

Playing in his 16th straight Australian Open, Hewitt needed three match points in the final game to close out the win and become the first wild card entry to reach the fourth round in Melbourne since Mats Wilander in 1994.

“It’s just a game,” Hewitt said. “But it’s a bloody big game.”

No. 2-ranked Rafael Nadal and No. 3 Roger Federer are back on court in a Sunday schedule that features a repeat of the 2011 women’s final between Kim Clijsters and Li Na. Federer is up against Australian teenager Bernard Tomic. Nadal faces fellow Spaniard Felicano Lopez.

No. 4-ranked Andy Murray, beaten in the last two Australian finals, brushed aside Michael Llodra 6-4, 6-2, 6-0 Saturday to leave France with two players in the draw, having started the day with six.

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga was the other Frenchman to advance, the 2008 finalist beating Frederico Gil of Portugal 6-2, 6-2, 6-2.

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