Serena, Li advance at Aussie Open

5:29 AM, Jan 15, 2014   |    comments
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Melbourne, Australia ( - Top seed and five-time titlist Serena Williams and last year's runner-up Li Na both notched straight-set victories Wednesday in the second round at the Australian Open, the first Grand Slam of the year.

Serena dropped just three games for the second straight match, earning a 6-1, 6-2 win over Serb Vesna Dolonc at Rod Laver Arena to improve to 60-8 at Melbourne Park, equaling Margaret Court's record for match wins at the tournament in the Open era.

Serena will square off with Daniela Hantuchova in the third round after the 31st-seeded Czech outlasted compatriot Karolina Pliskova to claim a 6-3, 3-6, 12-10 triumph.

The fourth-seeded Li, who lost to two-time reigning champion Victoria Azarenka in last year's final, bageled Belinda Bencic in a 22-minute first set, but faced much more resistance in the second as the 16-year-old Swiss wild card forced a tiebreak.

However, the Chinese star was able to gut out a 6-0, 7-6 (7-5) triumph.

Lucie Safarova awaits Li in the third round after the 26th-seeded Czech claimed a 6-7 (4-7), 6-3, 6-0 victory over countrymate Lucie Hradecka.

Ninth-seeded German Angelique Kerber cruised to a 6-4, 6-2 win over Russian Alla Kudryavtseva and will take on American Alison Riske in the third round after Riske bested Yanina Wickmayer 6-1, 6-1.

No. 15 Sabine Lisicki and 18th seed Kirsten Flipkens each suffered surprising second-round setbacks on Wednesday.

Romanian Monica Niculescu sent last year's Wimbledon runner-up Lisicki to an early exit with a 2-6, 6-2, 6-2 win, while Aussie wild card Casey Dellacque downed Flipkens of Germany 6-3, 6-0.

Next up for Niculescu will be Russian Ekaterina Makarova, who moved into the third round with a 6-2, 7-5 triumph over American Irina Falconi. The 22nd- seeded Makarova ousted seven-time Grand Slam winner Venus Williams in Monday's first round.

No. 28 Italian Flavia Pennetta picked up a 6-3, 6-4 win over Monica Puig to set up a third-round matchup with German Mona Barthel, who bounced Thailand's Luksika Kumkhum by a 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 margin. Kumkhum was coming off an upset win over sixth-seeded Petra Kvitova in the first round.

Also on Wednesday, 30th-seeded Canadian Eugenie Bouchard registered a hard- fought 6-2, 7-6 (12-10) triumph over Virginie Razzano.

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