(January 20, 2016) Both Day and Night sessions in Rod Laver Arena produced no drama for the top seeds as Novak Djokovic, Serena Williams, Roger Federer and Maria Sharapova had easy straight set victories on Wednesday at the Australian Open.
No. 5 seed and 2008 champion Sharapova lead off the day session with an easy win 6-2, 6-1 over Aliaksandra Sasnovich. Rain delayed the start of matches on the outer courts.
Six-time champion Serena Williams followed with a 6-1, 6-2 dismantling of 90th ranked Hsieh Su-wei. The victory set an all-time record for Williams – her 79th main draw match at the Australian Open. She 70-9 at the first major of the year where she first played in 1998.
The world No. 1 dominated her opponent with 26 winners, closing the match in just one hour. One of her winners was a shot around the post, a first for her she admitted to media. “It’s cool,” she said. “You know, it’s always cool to do something fresh and new. I don’t know if I have done that. I could be wrong, but I definitely don’t remember ever hitting a shot like around the net. So it was good.”
Williams was pleased with her consistency on court: “I don’t think I made that many errors today. Something I was hopefully trying to get back into. And I moved much better today, I think, so slowly but surely feeling a little bit better.”
Williams will be taking on Russian Daria Kasatkina in the third round. The Russian defeater her sister Venus in the Auckland tournament earlier this month.
“I don’t think it’s gonna be easy,” Serena said of the match-up. “Any time someone is beating Venus they are more than likely playing really good.
“So I definitely will be ready for that. I obviously will ask Venus what she thought of the match, and I’m sure Patrick will know everything about her match and stuff. He’s really good at studying.
“I’ll be ready for that.”
Roger Federer hit 25 aces in his 6-3, 7-5, 6-1 win over Alexandr Dolgopolov to advance to the third round.
“I thought today I did serve very well,” Federer said. Maybe just matched up well with maybe Dolgopolov maybe wasn’t seeing it as well. But also conditions are fast during the daytime, so that helps to be able to serve through opponents.”
This was his 299th match victory at a major tournament a record setting 65th straight major. This is Federer’s 17th straight Australian Open.
“It’s been going very well for me, and I hope to keep it up as long as I choose to play tennis. You know, I mean, it’s the least I expect to be in the third round of a slam, obviously, so I’m pumped up, playing well, feeling good.”
Federer will play 27th seed Grigor Dimitrov next. Last year Federer lost in the third round of the Australian Open.
“I think it’s a tough draw, to be honest,” Federer said of his next opponent. “He’s got the game to be really dangerous.
“He’s fit enough for a five-setter, so, yeah, I mean, gotta definitely bring my best game to the court.”
Evening session began with fourth seed Agnieszka Radwanska, who beat Eugenie Bouchard 6-4, 6-2. Bouchard, a semifinalist in Melbourne in 2014, had been off the tour after the U.S. Open after falling in the dressing room and sustaining a concussion. Bouchard has filed a lawsuit against the United States Tennis Association.
“I was prepared for that match 100%,” Radwanska said. “I knew it wasn’t going to be easy. She had good start of the year, as well, playing couple good matches. I knew I would have to play good tennis today.
“She start very well. She was hitting the ball very good. I think I was just more consistent today. That’s why I could really come back in that first set especially. I was really serving good. I was focusing on that. That helped, as well.”
Novak Djokovic ending the night session in Rod Laver Arena with a 6-1, 6-1, 7-6(3) victory over Frenchman wild card Quentin Halys.
“I think I played a good match,” Djokovic said. “Third set was a close set. Was a battle. Credit to him for fighting, for serving well.”
Djokovic in his post-match news conference denied a report in an Italian newspaper that he tanked a match in the 2007 Bercy event.
Djokovic answered:“My response is that there’s always going to be, especially these days when there is a lot of speculations, this is now the main story in tennis, in sports world, there’s going to be a lot of allegations, so…
“I have nothing more to say. I said everything I needed to say two days ago. You know, until somebody comes out with the real proof and evidence, it’s only a speculation for me.”
Defending champion Djokovic is a going for a sixth Australian Open title.
In the upset of the day, sixth seed Petra Kvitova lost to Russian-born Australian Daria Gavrilova 6-4, 6-4. Svetlana Kuznetsova, the 23rd seed lost to Kateryna Bondarenko 6-1, 7-5.
In a 4-6, 7-6(6), 9-7 loss to Monica Puig, Kristyna Pliskova hit a record 31 aces in the match.
Seeded winners in the women’s draw included No. 10 seed Carla Suárez Navarro, No. 12 seed Belinda Bencic, No. 13 seed Roberta Vinci and No. 28 seed Kristina Mladenovic.
Other seeded winners on the men’s side included No. 6 Tomas Berdych, No. 7 Kei Nishikori, Marin Cilic, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, No. 14 Gilles Simon, No. 15 David Goffin, No. 19 Dominic Thiem and No. 24 Roberto Bautista Agut.