Australian Open PHOTOS: Serena, Djokovic waste little time in reaching third round
Five-time champion Serena Williams played well within herself in stifling conditions on Rod Laver Arena to advance to the third round of the Australian Open with a 6-1, 6-2 victory over Serbia's Vesna Dolonc on Wednesday.
The victory was her 60th in the main draw at the Australian Open, which tied her with Margaret Court for the most wins at the tournament in the Open era.
Image: Serena Williams of the United States returns a shot
Photographs: Chris Hyde/Getty Images
Serena simply blasted Dolonc
With temperatures surpassing 40 Celsius (104 Fahrenheit) early on Wednesday, the 32-year-old American appeared content to expend as little energy as possible against the 104th-ranked Serb and anchored her play around the middle of the baseline and simply blasted Dolonc off court.
Williams won almost 90 percent of her first serve points and belted Dolonc's serve back past her seemingly at will to clinch victory in 63 minutes and set up a meeting with either Karolina Pliskova or Daniela Hantuchova in the third round.
Image: Vesna Dolonc of Serbia cools off
Photographs: Michael Dodge/Getty Images
Djokovic marches into third round
Novak Djokovic took a tumble in the first set but returned to his feet quickly to complete a 6-0, 6-4, 6-4 trouncing of Argentine Leonardo Mayer and march into the third round of the Australian Open on Wednesday.
Bidding for a fourth consecutive title at MelbournePark, the world number two stayed cool on a day of baking heat at Rod Laver Arena, to race through the match in less than two hours.
Mayer was outclassed in all facets of the contest and although he saved one match point, his fate was sealed on Djokovic's second opportunity when the Argentine pushed the ball long.
Djokovic next plays Russian 30th seed Dmitry Tursunov.
Image: Novak Djokovic of Serbia changes his shirt
Photographs: Michael Dodge/Getty Images
Li dumps Swiss to reach third round
Li Na struck back for the older generation of women's tennis by fending off gutsy 16-year-old qualifier Belinda Bencic 6-0, 7-6 (5) to reach the third round.
Swiss Bencic, who knocked out Japan's Kimiko Date-Krumm, the oldest woman in the draw in the first round, lost seven straight games before steadying to surprise the Chinese fourth seed with her tenacity in a tense second set played out in stifling heat at Rod Laver Arena.
Image: Li Na of China plays a backhand
Photographs: Ryan Pierse/Getty Images
Li seals match by crunching a backhand winner down the line
Taken deep into the deciding tiebreak, Li sealed the match by crunching a backhand winner down the line.
Li will next face qualifier Lucie Hradecka or another Czech in 26th seed Lucie Safarova.
Image: Li Na (right) of China shakes hands with Belinda Bencic of Switzerland
Photographs: Jason Reed/Reuters
Ferrer puts up fight as Mannarino wilts in the heat
Spain's David Ferrer battled his way into third round of the Australian Open with a 7-6(2), 5-7, 6-0, 6-3 victory over Adrian Mannarino after the Frenchman wilted in the fierce heat on Wednesday.
The World No 3 specialises in grinding his opponents down with his baseline hustling and that is exactly what happened in his encounter with Mannarino, who made 73 unforced errors over the four sets.
Mannarino looked to be struggling in temperatures in excess of 37 degree Celsius (99 Fahrenheit) during the last two sets on Hisense Arena and Ferrer finished him off in shade over three hours with a forehand winner after a 24-shot rally.
"It's tough to play in these conditions, I tried to fight when I lost the second set because it was a bad moment in my tennis," Ferrer said.
Image: David Ferrer of Spain celebrates winning his second round match against Adrian Mannarino of France during the Australian Open at Melbourne Park on Wednesday
Photographs: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images
Youzhny knocked out by German Mayer
"I'm happy because the last two sets I played good. I want to enjoy this moment and then tomorrow I will be focused on my next opponent."
That opponent will be either another Frenchman in Jeremy Chardy or the unpredictable Ukrainian Alexandr Dolgopolov in a section of the draw that was weakened by the defeat of 14th seed Mikhail Youzhny at the hands of Germany’s Florian Mayer on Wednesday.
Ferrer is third seed at Melbourne Park, after Briton Andy Murray missed the back end of last season, but has rarely been mentioned as a contender despite having twice reached the semi-finals at the year's first grand slam in the last three years.
Image: Mikhail Youzhny of Russia plays a backhand in his second round match against Florian Mayer of Germany at the Australian Open at Melbourne Park on Wednesday
Photographs: Cameron Spencer/Getty Images