Australian Open: Serena, Li in third round
Posted on Jan 15 2014 | IANS
Melbourne, Jan 15 : Top seed Serena Williams of the US and fourth seed Li Na of China made it to the third round of the women's singles tennis competitions at the Australian Open here Wednesday.
Serena took just 63 minutes to reach the third round. The five-time winner eased to a straight-set victory against her Serb opponent Vesna Dolonc at 6-1, 6-2, reports Xinhua.
As the oldest player to ever rank No.1, Williams went 78-4 and won 11 titles in 2013. She also beat Maria Sharapova and Victoria Azarenka back-to-back the week before last to win in Brisbane without dropping a single set.
Williams will match former World No.1 Chris Evert and Martina Navratilova by winning an 18th Grand Slam title to open her 2014.
Two-time runner-up Li won 7-5 in the tie-break of the second set to beat Swiss qualifier Belinda Bencic in straight sets and advanced into the third round.
The Chinese dominated the first set, playing only 22 minutes to win 6-0 without dropping a game and conceding only 10 points.
Bencic put up more of a challenge in the second set and broke Li twice to force a tie-break. But Li prevailed to win 7-5.
"She played exactly like Martina Hingis, and it's very tough to play a decent player I have never seen before," said Li. "I think today she gave me very tough time in the second set. But I was really happy in the end I can use my experience to win the match."
The 2011 French Open champion defeated 16-year-old Ana Konjuh, the youngest player in the tournament, by dropping just two games in the first round. After Wednesday's victory over Bencic, the Chinese completed back-to-back wins over the two youngest players in the draw. Konjuh and Bencic split the four junior majors in 2013.
In Friday's third round, Li will play for a place in the top 16 against 26th seed Lucie Sfarova, who beat qualifier compatriot Lucie Hradecka in three sets.