Williams sisters advance to third round at Australian Open; Djokovic, Davydenko through

By John Pye, AP
Thursday, January 21, 2010

Both Williams advance; Ivanovic out in 2nd round

MELBOURNE, Australia — Defending champion Serena Williams had no problems beating Petra Kvitova 6-2, 6-1 to move into a third-round match against Carla Suarez Navarro, who ended her sister Venus’ run early at the last Australian Open.

Williams converted four of her 11 breakpoint chances against No. 77-ranked Kvitova in a second-round match which lasted 67 minutes on Thursday, immediately after Venus Williams beat Austria’s Sybille Bammer 6-2, 7-5 on Hisense Arena.

Serena Williams has won the Australian Open every odd-numbered year since 2003, the year she beat older sister Venus in the final.

Venus, in her 10th Australian Open, has won seven Grand Slam singles titles but hasn’t gone beyond the fourth round in Australia since ‘03.

She was upset in the second-round last year by Spaniard Suarez Navarro, who beat Andrea Petkovic of Germany 6-1, 6-4 earlier Thursday.

Ana Ivanovic, the 2008 Australian Open finalist, extended her run of poor results in a second-round 6-7 (6), 7-5, 6-4 loss to Gisela Dulko of Argentina.

“It’s hard. It hurts, I must say. For sure it will. But it’s a process,” said Ivanovic, who slipped from No. 1 to No. 21 and didn’t win a tournament in 2009. “I do feel better on the court. I’m playing much better. I feel like my old self. There are still some areas that are not there for me to rely on.

“I just have to sort of keep my head up and try to improve, work.”

U.S. Open finalist Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark advanced 6-3, 6-1 over Julia Goerges of Germany and will next play No. 29 Shahar Peer of Israel, who beat Tsvetana Pironkova of Bulgaria 6-1, 6-4.

Among the women advancing were No. 7 Victoria Azarenka of Belarus, No. 9 Vera Zvonareva of Russia, No. 10 Agnieszka Radwanska, No. 16 Li Na of China and No. 32 Carla Suarez Navarro of Spain.

Back on the court where he won his only Grand Slam title, Novak Djokovic overcame an early struggle against Swiss journeyman Marco Chiudinelli before advancing 3-6, 6-1, 6-1, 6-3.

Djokovic had nine double-faults and 52 unforced errors and took a while to get going.

“This court is most special because I won my only Grand Slam here,” the 22-year-old Serb said of Rod Laver Arena, where he beat Roger Federer in the semifinals en route to the 2008 title. “It has the nicest possible memories.”

Djokovic will next play Uzbekistan’s Denis Istomin, who beat Michael Berrer of Germany 7-5, 6-3, 6-4.

Sixth-seeded Nikolay Davydenko, who rarely gets onto the center court at this stage of a Grand Slam, had a 6-3, 6-3, 6-0 win over Ukraine qualifier Illya Marchenko in the low-key manner which has typified an 11-match winning streak.

The 28-year-old Russian doesn’t have the profile of Federer or Rafael Nadal, and he’s never made a Grand Slam final, but nobody has been playing better lately.

He dominated Marchenko on Show Court 2, which is No. 4 in the pecking order of courts at Melbourne Park, to extend a winning sequence that has included title runs at the World Tour Finals at the end of 2009 and Doha to start this year.

Marcos Baghdatis, the 2006 finalist, struggled late with cramping but held on to beat No. 17 David Ferrer of Spain 4-6, 3-6, 7-6 (4), 6-3, 6-1.

Baghdatis will face former No. 1-ranked Lleyton Hewitt, who had a 7-6 (3), 6-4, 6-1 win over American Donald Young. The last Hewitt-Baghdatis match at Melbourne Park was a third-round match that finished at 4:34 a.m. in 2008.

Colombia’s Alejandro Falla had a 6-4, 6-1, 6-3 win over Marcel Granollers and will play another Spaniard in the next round — No. 26 Nicolas Almagro beat Germany’s Benjamin Becker 6-4, 6-2, 3-6, 4-6, 6-3.

Falla’s compatriot Santiago Giraldo missed out, losing 6-4, 3-6, 6-3, 6-1 to Poland’s Lukasz Kubot in the subsequent match on Court 7.

Davydenko beat both top-ranked Federer and No. 2 Nadal on his way to two titles in the last two months, including the Qatar Open this month where he saved two match points in a comeback win over Nadal in the final.

His best run at the Australian Open ended in a fourth-round loss in 2008. He did not play here last year due to a left heel injury, breaking a streak of 29 straight Grand Slam tournaments back to the 2001 U.S. Open.

If players progress according to their seedings, Davydenko would meet 15-time Grand Slam singles champion Federer in the quarterfinals here.

Only seven matches into her comeback, Justine Henin held off fifth-ranked Elena Dementieva 7-5, 7-6 (6), winning the last three points of the tiebreaker to clinch a second-round victory worthy of a final on Wednesday night. She ended it on her second match point — 24 minutes after she missed her first chance against the Olympic champion.

Henin, who retired in May 2008 while she was ranked No. 1, knows she’s capable of reproducing the form that took her to seven major singles titles.

“I lived so much emotion on the court this evening. It was magical,” she said. “I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to do it, but it was the kind of situation I needed to re-find my confidence.”

On the men’s side, U.S. Open champion Juan Martin del Potro, defending champion Nadal, No. 5 Andy Murray and No. 7 Andy Roddick all advanced.

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