Photo: Paul ZimmerSerena Williams (USA)
With most of the headlines about this year’s Australian Open being about the heatwave in Melbourne, there is one player who is not getting hot under the collar and that’s Serena Williams.
The American is one win away from making history Down Under after she equalled Margaret Court’s record for winning the most matches at the Australian Open with her 60th victory at Melbourne Park.
Williams defeated Vesna Dolonc 61 62 to set up a mouth-watering clash against No. 31 seed Daniela Hantuchova after the Slovak player defeated Karolina Pliskova in round two.
Hantuchova was made to work hard for her win, finally clinching it 63 36 1210, whereas Williams has dropped just six games in her opening two matches this year.
Another player who is flying under the radar in Australia is home favourite Sam Stosur.
The Queenslander has, in recent years, not coped well with the pressure of playing on home soil, but she has quietly advanced to the third round at Melbourne Park for the first time since 2011 dropping just two games against Tsvetana Pironkova on Wednesday to win 62 60 in an hour and seven minutes.
The Aussie will play another former Grand Slam champion, Ana Ivanovic, in the third round after the Serbian made light work of her second round match-up against Annika Beck winning 61 62.
“It's going to be a tough match,” said Stosur . “Ana has been playing well last year. Last two tournaments last year we played, she won one, I won one. Couple three‑setters in there. It's going to be a tough one.
“I'm looking forward to it. I am happy to be in the third round. I want to keep going. I'm really pleased with the way I played tonight. Hopefully I can keep building on what I just did to Friday's match and, yeah, really enjoy it out there and have fun.”
Nineteen-year-old Eugenie Bouchard equalled her best Grand Slam performance by reaching the third round on her Australian Open debut - the Canadian coming through in straight sets to defeat France’s Virginie Razzano 62 76(10).
When asked why she didn’t just shake her opponent’s hand at the net, she said: “I just thought because she was French they do the kissy thing. I thought she maybe kind of wanted to. I was hesitating. I just kind of went for it!”
In total, six seeds were knocked out on day three of the Australian Open, with two of those coming in the women’s draw. Belgium’s Kirsten Flipkens, seeded No. 18, was outplayed by Australia’s Casey Dellacqua, while No. 15 seed Sabine Lisicki was no match for Romania’s Monica Niculescu.
On the men’s side, four seeds failed to advance to the third round: No. 14 Mikhail Youzhny fell to Germany’s Florian Mayer, No. 23 seed Ernests Gulbis lost to Sam Querrey, No. 30 seed Dmitry Tursunov could not get past Denis Istomin and No. 32 seed Ivan Dodig retired with cramp against Bosnia/Herzegovina’s Damir Dzumhur.
There was better news for the likes of world No. 2 Novak Djokovic, who was untroubled by Argentina’s Leonardo Mayer winning 60 64 64, and world No. 6 Tomas Berdych, who won in straight sets against France’s Kenny de Schepper.
Another Frenchman, Richard Gasquet, will play Tommy Robredo in an intriguing third round match-up after both players won against Nikolay Davydenko and Julien Benneteau respectively, while No. 3 David Ferrer will take on No. 29 Jeremy Chardy in the third round.
Fabio Fognini made it past Jarkko Nieminen to set up a third round encounter against Querrey, Jerzy Janowicz was delighted to defeat Pablo Andujar and will move on to the next round to face Florian Mayer.
South Africa’s Kevin Anderson progressed unscathed to play Edouard Roger-Vasselin in round three and Stanislas Wawrinka moved on and will face Vasek Pospisil next after the Canadian overcame a back injury to defeat Matthew Ebden in the night match on Rod Laver Arena.
The ITF produces men’s match notes at the Australian Open. For a full list of the notes click here.