Melbourne - Title-holder Victoria Azarenka swept into the Australian Open third
round on Thursday with a straight-sets mauling of Barbora Zahlavova
The two-time champion was rarely threatened on Rod Laver Arena to blast past the Czech 6-1, 6-4 in 88 minutes.
The Belarusian benefited from the roof being shut on centre court because of searing heat.
feels pretty good, it was a good match and a competitive second set,"
Azarenka said of the win. "Barbora played well and I was just glad to
close it out in two sets."
Azarenka was keen to make an impression
after a lacklustre first-round showing against world number 91 Johanna
Larsson, when her game was riddled with unforced errors and marred by
She got off on the right foot, holding serve against
the experienced Zahlavova Strycova, ranked 84, who was attempting to
match her best Australian Open performance in reaching the third round
The Czech made it 1-1 when Azarenka missed an easy volley
after a tight second game, but the champion made no mistakes on break
point in Zahlavova Strycova's next service game.
After a long
rally the Belarusian, with boyfriend pop star Redfoo cheering her on,
produced a delicate drop shot to earn the break.
She held serve
and screaming her trademark, "C'mon!" made the most of her opponent's
sloppy first serve to go 5-1 ahead with a sizzling cross-court backhand.
Azarenka was in control and polished off the first set in just 34 minutes.
continued in the same vein in the second set, immediately breaking for a
1-0 lead and while Zahlavova Strycova tried everything she could to
claw back in a 13-minute fourth game, too many errors cost her.
she refused to give up and got back in the match when Azarenka sliced a
backhand long to give her a break at 3-3, only to have the second seed
break straight back.
The Czech was shouting at herself when she
dropped points and it fired her up as she broke again for 4-4 before
throwing her good work away with another errant service game.
It put Azarenka on the front foot and she sealed the match with another cross-court backhand.
next faces either Serbian 33rd seed Bojana Jovanovski or Austrian
Yvonne Meusburger as she searches for a third consecutive Melbourne
title, a feat last achieved by Martina Hingis between 1997-1999.
the Open era only five women have managed three in a row - Margaret
Court, Evonne Goolagong, Steffi Graf, Monica Seles and Hingis.
Results from the Australian Open on Thursday:
Kei Nishikori (JPN x16) bt Dusan Lajovic (SRB) 6-1, 6-1, 7-6 (7/3)
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (FRA x10) bt Thomaz Belluci (BRA) 7-6 (8/6), 6-4, 6-4
Rafael Nadal (ESP x1) bt Thanasi Kokkinakis (AUS) 6-2, 6-4, 6-2
Donald Young (USA) bt Andreas Seppi (ITA x24) 6-4, 2-6, 6-3, 4-6, 7-5
Roger Federer (SUI x6) bt Blaz Kavcic (SLO) 6-2, 6-1, 7-6 (7/4)
Stephane Robert (FRA) bt Michal Przysiezny (POL) 7-6 (7/3), 6-1,
6-7 (3/7), 6-1
Gael Monfils (FRA x25) bt Jack Sock (USA) 7-6 (7/2), 7-5, 6-2
Grigor Dimitrov (BUL x22) bt Lu Yen-Hsun (TPE) 6-3, 6-3, 7-6 (11/9)
Milos Raonic (CAN x11) bt Victor Hanescu (ROM) 7-6 (11/9), 6-4, 6-4
Martin Klizan (SVK) bt Blaz Rola (SLO) 6-4, 6-3, 5-7, 7-6 (7/2)
Feliciano Lopez (ESP x26) bt Michael Berrer (GER) 6-4, 7-6 (8/6), 6-4
Andy Murray (GBR x4) bt Vincent Millot (FRA) 6-2, 6-2, 7-5
Roberto Bautista Agut (ESP) bt Juan Martin del Potro (ARG x5) 4-6, 6-3, 5-7, 6-4, 7-5
Teymuraz Gabashvili (RUS) bt Fernando Verdasco (ESP x31) 7-6 (7/1), 3-6, 2-6, 6-4, 6-4
Gilles Simon (FRA x18) bt Marin Cilic (CRO) 4-6, 7-6 (7/3), 6-7 (5/7), 6-1, 6-2
Benoit Paire (FRA x27) bt Nick Kyrgios (AUS) 6-7 (5/7), 6-7 (5/7), 6-4, 6-2, 6-2
Women's singles:Second round:
Zarina Diyas (KAZ) bt Marina Erakovic (NZL) 6-4, 6-0
Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (RUS x29) bt Mandy Minella (LUX) 6-2, 6-2
Elina Svitolina (UKR) bt Olivia Rogowska (AUS) 6-4, 7-5
Simona Halep (ROU x11) bt Varvara Lepchenko (USA) 4-6, 6-0, 6-1
Carla Suarez Navarro (ESP x16) bt Galina Voskoboeva (KAZ) 7-6 (7/2), 3-6, 8-6
Dominika Cibulkova (SVK x20) bt Stefanie Voegele (SUI) 6-0, 6-1
Alize Cornet (FRA x25) bt Camila Giorgi (ITA) 6-3, 4-6, 6-4
Maria Sharapova (RUS x3) bt Karin Knapp (ITA) 6-3, 4-6, 10-8
Garbine Muguruza (ESP) bt Anna Schmiedlova (SVK) 6-3, 6-3
Agnieszka Radwanska (POL x5) bt Olga Govortsova (BLR) 6-0, 7-5
Caroline Wozniacki (DEN x10) bt Christina McHale (USA) 6-0, 1-6, 6-2
Sloane Stephens (USA x13) bt Ajla Tomljanovic (CRO) 3-6, 6-2, 7-5
Victoria Azarenka (BLR x2) bt Barbora Zahlavova Strycova (CZE)
Kurumi Nara (JPN) bt Magdalena Rybarikova (SVK x32) 6-4, 6-3
Jelena Jankovic (SRB x8) bt Ayumi Morita (JPN) 6-2, 6-0
Yvonne Meusburger (AUT) bt Bojana Jovanovski (SRB x33) 3-6, 6-3, 6-2