Top seeds make Australian Open progress as title bids gather pace

Ross McLean
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WORLD No1 Novak Djokovic’s quest for a fifth Australian Open title remains on course after dismantling Russia’s Andrey Kuznetsov in the second round at the Rod Laver Arena in Melbourne yesterday.

Djokovic showed few signs of the virus which has hampered him in recent weeks and secured a straight-sets 6-0, 6-1, 6-4 victory in just one hour and 24 minutes, reaching the tournament’s third round for the ninth successive year.

“In the opening two sets everything went as I wished and planned,” said Djokovic. “He [Kuznetsov] is one of the up and coming stars.”

Defending champion Stan Wawrinka, meanwhile, had to graft to make round three, sealing his place by defeating big-hitting Romanian Marius Copil 7-6, 7-6, 6-3.

American top seed Serena Williams stormed through with a convincing second-set performance following a tight first, ultimately posting a 7-5, 6-0 success against Russia’s Vera Zvonareva.

“She started out really well, she was really aggressive and I was a little too passive,” said Williams. “Once I got down I thought ‘Serena, you’ve done so well here you’ve got nothing to lose, just have fun and enjoy yourself’, then I started to play a lot better.”

Two-time champion Victoria Azarenka consigned an injury-blighted season to the pages of history after dispatching Denmark’s Caroline Wozniacki 6-4, 6-2 in a battle of former No1s.

Azarenka is unseeded at a grand slam for the first time since 2007 after her tribulations last year, slipping to a world ranking of No44 in the process, but quashed Wozniacki’s latest attempt to claim a major title.