MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — Agnieszka Radwanska extended the best winning streak of the year to 11 matches as she rolled into the third round of the Australian Open with a 6-3, 6-3 win over Romania’s Irina-Camelia Begu on Wednesday.
The No. 4-ranked Radwanska won leadup tournaments this month at Auckland and Sydney and is unbeaten this year.
Her last two trips to the Australian Open have ended in quarterfinal losses to the eventual champion — Kim Clijsters in 2011 and Victoria Azarenka last year.
With top-ranked Azarenka and Williams on the other half of the draw, Radwanska’s main obstacles to reaching the final are 2011 French Open champion Li Na, who beat Olga Goortsova of Belarus 6-2, 7-5 to reach the third round, and potential semifinal rivals Maria Sharapova or No. 5 Angelique Kerber of Germany.
Kerber advanced Wednesday with a 6-3, 6-1 win over Lucie Hradecka and No. 2-ranked Sharapova, the reigning French Open champion, was scheduled to play later Wednesday against Japan’s Misaki Doi.
Williams hurt her ankle in her opening victory Tuesday, causing speculation that her bid for a third consecutive major title Open could be in jeorpardy. She has only lost one match since her first-round exit at the French Open last year.
In early women’s second-round matches Wednesday, No. 18 Julia Gorges beat Romina Oprandi 6-3, 6-2; Russian qualifier Valeria Savinykh upset No. 15 Dominika Cibulkova 7-6 (6), 6-4; and Kirsten Flipkens of Belgium ousted No. 23 Klara Zakopalova 6-1, 6-0.
On the men’s side, 10th-seeded Nicolas Almagro was first through to the third round with a 6-4, 6-1, 6-2 win over fellow Spaniard Daniel Gimeno-Traver; No. 16-ranked Kei Nishikori of Japan beat Carlos Berlocq 7-6 (4), 6-4, 6-1; and No. 20 Sam Querrey advanced when fellow American Brian Baker retired in the second set with what appeared to be a right knee injury. Baker, who returned to the tour last year after almost six seasons out with a variety of injuries, won a first-set tiebreaker and was even at 1-1 on serve in the second. He was later pushed from Court 6 in a wheelchair.
“Yeah, he’s the last person that deserves anything like that with his five or six surgeries already,” Querrey said. “He does everything right, treats his body great, just trying to come back, and then something like that happens, it’s just so unlucky.”
Williams had a moment on day two when she felt like her tournament could be over.
Flat on her back, her sore right ankle raised and her hands covering her face, she tried to block out thoughts that her bid for a third straight Grand Slam title might be ruined.
“I almost panicked, and I thought, ‘I can’t do that,’” she said. “I just have to really remain calm and think things through.”
The stats showed this was nothing more than a stroll — a 6-0, 6-0 wipeout in 54 minutes of No. 110-ranked Edina Gallovits-Hall at Melbourne Park.
But the match took significantly longer to complete give a medical timeouts and other treatment. And while the score may have been painful to her opponent, there was plenty of pain to go around.