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NEWS

Venus, Keys, Querrey advance to Aussie Open third round

January 16, 2013 07:11 AM
Venus Williams waves to the crowd following her second-round victory over Alize Cornet.
Sam Querrey (l) talks to Brian Baker after Baker retired with an injury during their second-round match.
MELBOURNE, Australia (AP)—Seven-time Grand Slam singles champion Venus Williams beat Alize Cornet of France, 6-3, 6-3, Wednesday to advance to a third-round match against Maria Sharapova at the Australian Open.

The 25th-seeded Williams took advantage of a double-fault on set point by Cornet to take the lead, then fought back from a service break down in the second set to win in 1 hour, 17 minutes.

"Tennis ... is about winning when it's not your best day," the 25th-seeded Williams said. "I'm playing against Maria (next). I'm going to have to be at my best against her."

Americans Madison Keys and Sam Querrey also advanced with second-round wins.

Seventeen-year-old wild-card Keys beat No. 30 Tamira Paszek of Austria, 6-2, 6-1, while No. 20 Querrey advanced when fellow American Brian Baker retired in the second set with a right knee injury.

Baker, who returned to the tour last year after missing almost six seasons with a variety of injuries, won a first-set tiebreaker and was level at 1-1 on serve in the second. He was later pushed from Court 6 in a wheelchair.

Tournament organizers said that Baker has a torn meniscus and is expected to be out about four months.

"Yeah, he's the last person that deserves anything like that with his five or six surgeries already," Querrey said.

Querrey next plays No. 15 Stanislas Wawrinka.

In other action Wednesday, men's top-seed Novak Djokovic was all but perfect in his second-round match against Ryan Harrison, beating the 20-year-old American, 6-1, 6-2, 6-3, to stay on track for his third consecutive Australian Open title and the fourth of his career.

Sharapova was even more convincing a few hours earlier, winning 6-0, 6-0 for the second time in two matches to set up a third-round encounter with Williams.

Reigning French Open champion Sharapova holds a 4-3 edge in career meetings, but Williams has won both of their meetings at Grand Slam tournaments -- at Wimbledon in 2005 and 2007.

Venus' sister Serena, playing in the other half of the draw, had the day off Wednesday and was able to rest the right ankle she injured in her first-round match. She's set to play Garbine Muguruza on Thursday as she pursues her own sequence of three. She won Wimbledon and the US Open last year and is aiming for a third major in a row.
 
Serena, who has lost only one match since her first-round exit at the French Open last year, canceled an outdoor practice session and moved it indoors to test out her sore ankle.

Djokovic, a loser in the US Open final last year to Andy Murray, looks like he wants to atone for that defeat. He was relentless in beating Harrison, winning the first set in just 20 minutes and the match in 1 1/2 hours while making just 16 unforced errors.

"I tried to focus from the start," Djokovic said. "Obviously, I knew he had nothing to lose, he's going to come out and hit big serves. Pity for him, I don't think he played his best."

Sharapova did, particularly for someone who has precious little match "toughness'' heading into the Australian Open. The second-seeded Russian beat Japan's Misaki Doi by the double-bagel score in just 47 minutes, her second consecutive match at Melbourne Park in which her opponent failed to win a game. Doi won only 15 points.

She is the first woman to post consecutive 6-0, 6-0 scorelines at a Grand Slam since Wendy Turnbull at the Australian Open in 1985.

"I've been playing really aggressive and doing the right things," Sharapova said. "It's not easy to be up so much because you can have a few letdowns. You just have to try to concentrate. My job is to make it as easy as possible."

The final match of Wednesday's session on the center court was disappointing, though not wholly unexpected, for the home crowd and Australia's top-ranked female player.

Ninth-seeded Samantha Stosur, who has spoken of her anxiety over playing in front of her home fans, served twice for the match but double faulted on match point in a 6-4, 1-6, 7-5 loss to China's Zheng Jie.

"It was a bit of a choke," Stosur admitted. "Obviously it's a hard one to take when you get yourself into a winning position and you lose five games straight."

Stosur, who had nine double faults and 56 unforced errors, has never gone beyond the fourth round at her home Grand Slam, lost in the first round last year and also lost in her first matches at warm-up tournaments this year in Brisbane and Sydney.

Earlier, fourth-seeded Agnieszka Radwanksa extended the year's best winning streak to 11 matches. She eased into the third round with a 6-3, 6-3 victory over Romania's Irina-Camelia Begu and remains unbeaten this year, including titles at warm-up tournaments this month at Auckland, New Zealand, and Sydney.

With top-ranked Victoria Azarenka and Serena 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 Govortsova of Belarus, 6-2, 7-5, to reach the third round, and potential semifinal rivals Sharapova or No. 5 Angelique Kerber, who advanced with a 6-3, 6-1 win over Lucie Hradecka.

In other women's second-round matches: No. 11 Marion Bartoli beat Serbian qualifier Vesna Dolonc, 7-5, 6-0; No. 13 Ana Ivanovic had a 7-5, 1-6, 6-4 win over Taiwanese qualifier Chan Yung-jan; No. 18 Julia Goerges beat Romina Oprandi, 6-3, 6-2; and No. 22 Jelena Jankovic, a former world No. 1, beat qualifier Maria Joao Koehler, 2-6, 7-6 (5), 6-2.

Russian qualifier Valeria Savinykh upset No. 15 Dominika Cibulkova, 7-6 (6), 6-4, and Kirsten Flipkens of Belgium beat No. 23 Klara Zakopalova, 6-1, 6-0.

On the men's side, No. 4-ranked David Ferrer needed five match points before clinching a 6-0, 7-5, 4-6, 6-3 win over American Tim Smyczek, who got into the main draw as a lucky loser from qualifying.

Fifth-seeded Tomas Berdych beat Guillaume Rufin of France, 6-2, 6-2, 6-4, and eighth-seeded Janko Tipsarevic beat Lukas Lacko, 6-3, 6-4, 3-6, 4-6, 7-5, in a match that lasted nearly four hours.

No. 10 Nicolas Almagro and No. 16-ranked Kei Nishikori also moved on, while No. 24 Jerzy Janowicz of Poland rallied from two sets down to overpower India's Somdev Devvarman, 6-7 (10), 3-6, 6-1, 6-0, 7-5.

Also advancing were No. 22 Fernando Verdasco, No. 28 Marcos Baghdatis, the 2006 Australian Open runner-up, No. 31 Radek Stepanek and No. 32 Julien Benneteau. Stepanek beat Feliciano Lopez, 6-2, 6-2, 6-4, and will next play Djokovic.
 

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