Djokovic, Serena rush through at Melbourne Park

Thu Jan 22, 2015 7:51am EST
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By Greg Stutchbury

MELBOURNE (Reuters) - Top seeds Novak Djokovic and Serena Williams barely moved out of second gear while Victoria Azarenka underlined her Australian Open pedigree as players experienced the hottest conditions of the championship so far on Thursday.

Four-times champion Djokovic only needed to up his game after an hour of his 6-0 6-1 6-4 victory over Andrey Kuznetsov, while Williams had to be on her mettle a little sooner following some early resistance from former world number two Vera Zvonareva.

Once the 18-times grand slam singles champion got up to speed, however, she cruised away from the Russian with a 7-5 6-0 victory during the day session.

"Things really clicked. I had no other option but for things to click," the American told reporters as she moved into the third round and within sight of a potential quarter-final with Azarenka.

Twice champion Azarenka, whose ranking has plummeted to 44 after she was restricted to just nine tournaments last year with foot and knee injuries, proved she would not be kept down for long as she hammered eighth seed Caroline Wozniacki 6-4 6-2.

"I knew that I'm unseeded so I can play anybody. I just accept whoever is on the opposite side (and) I'm happy with the way I stayed consistent throughout the whole match," she said.

"I think there's always things you can improve, but it's a great progress from one match to another."

Woziniacki, a former world number one, said while losing "sucks" she felt her good friend was back to her best already.   Continued...

Novak Djokovic of Serbia celebrates after defeating Andrey Kuznetsov of Russia in their men's singles second round match at the Australian Open 2015 tennis tournament in Melbourne January 22, 2015.  REUTERS/Issei Kato