Serena, Azarenka through to 4th round
By John Pye, APMELBOURNE, Australia--Title favorite Serena Williams and defending champion Victoria Azarenka advanced in contrasting styles Saturday to the fourth round of the Australian Open.
January 20, 2013, 12:04 am TWN
Williams, aiming for a third consecutive major title, recovered from a break down in the second set to win six straight games and finish off a 6-1, 6-3 win over Japan's Ayumi Morita in 66 minutes. Top-ranked Azarenka struggled to hold off injured American Jamie Hampton 6-4, 4-6, 6-2, and didn't help herself with six double-faults.
At least she survived. Juan Martin del Potro, the 2009 U.S. Open champion, lost 6-3, 6-3, 6-7(3), 3-6, 6-3 to Jeremy Chardy of France, leaving only three major winners still in contention in the men's draw.
Andy Murray, who only joined the ranks of the Grand Slam titlists when he won at the U.S. Open last year, advanced with a gritty 6-3, 6-4, 7-5 win over Lithuanian qualifier Ricardas Berankis. No. 2 Roger Federer, who has won four titles in Australia among his 17 major titles, was playing Bernard Tomic later Saturday and No. 1 Novak Djokovic took another step toward his third consecutive Australian title with a third-round win on Friday.
After taking del Potro out of the top section of the draw, Chardy will next face No. 21 Andreas Seppi of Italy, who beat No. 12 Marin Cilic 6-7 (2), 6-3, 2-6, 6-4, 6-2.
Two Frenchmen advanced and will meet in the fourth round, with No. 7 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga beating Slovenia's Blaz Kavcic 6-2, 6-1, 6-4 and No. 9 Richard Gasquet defeating Croatia's Ivan Dodig 4-6, 6-3, 7-6 (2), 6-0.
Williams surprised herself with another serve at 128 mph (207 kph) in an afternoon match on Rod Laver Arena, matching her career fastest serve she hit earlier in the tournament.