Australian Open: Top seeds advance to second round (Roundup)

January 16th, 2012 - 9:20 pm ICT by IANS  

Roger Federer Melbourne, Jan 16 (IANS) Big names Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Caroline Wozniacki, Victoria Azarenka advanced to the second round of the Australian Open at Melbourne Park here Monday.

Federer, seeded third and four-time champion here, had no trouble in getting past Russian Alexander Kudryavtsev, winning 7-5, 6-2, 6-2 in the men’s singles first round.

The Swiss broke serve six times and lost his service once in the final set. He won 80 percent of his first serves and dominated the returns, clocking up a total of 43 winners to Kudryavtsev’s 21.

Second seed Nadal also eased past American qualifier Alex Kuznetsov, with the 2009 champion winning 6-4 6-1 6-1. The Spaniard will now play three-time semi-finalist Tommy Haas after the German veteran defeated American Denis Kudla 7-6 (7-5), 3-6, 6-0, 7-5.

Top seed Wozniacki booked a second round date in the women’s singles after a commanding 6-2, 6-1 win over local player Anastasia Rodionova.

The World No.1 reeled off ten of the last 11 games to down the Russian-born world No.103 at the Rod Laver Arena.

Wozniacki has held the top ranking since Oct 11, 2010, except one week when Belgium’s Kim Clijsters briefly held the honour after last year’s Australian Open triumph.

But the 21-year-old Danish is yet to win any Grand Slam. She has made into just one Grand Slam final at the US Open in 2009. Her best performance at the Australian Open was a semi-final appearance last year, when she lost to China’s Li Na.

Three-seed Victoria Azarenka had an easy opening match as she defeated Britain’s Heather Watson 6-1, 6-0.

Azarenka won 12 straight games to finish off Watson in the opening match on the centre court. The Belarussian took 67 minutes to complete the victory, showing the same form that helped her win the title in Sydney Friday.

Li Na recovered from a slow start to down Ksenia Pervak of Kazakhstan 6-3, 6-1 in stifling heat. Fifth-seed Li, who lost last year’s final at Melbourne to Clijsters, looked more strained than the 20-year-old Pervak. The world number 40 matched Li for much of the first set as the two players traded a series of groundstrokes.

However, the reigning French Open champion Li soon recovered as she broke Pervak to go to 4-2 and took a 5-3 lead in the opening set.

She stepped up to break Pervak’s serve again to make it 2-0 in the second set.

Seeded players in Fernando Verdasco (22 seed), Juan Monaco (25), Ivan Ljubicic (28) and Jurgen Melzer (31) crashed out of the men’s singles while 24th-seed Lucie Safarova became the only seed to fall in the women’s category, losing to American Christina McHale 2-6, 4-6.

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