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Williams, Djokovic into third round at Australian Open

MELBOURNE, Australia -- Serena Williams wore a fitted pink blazer into her second-round match at the Australian Open, giving the impression she wasn't feeling the heat.

And after her 6-1, 6-2 win over Vesna Dolonc on Wednesday, the second consecutive scorching day at the season's first major, Williams said she could remember hotter matches.

By extending her winning stretch to 24 matches dating back to August, and improving her career mark to 60-8 at Melbourne Park, she also equaled Margaret Court's record 60 match wins at the Australian Open in the Open era.

Court, who won seven of her 11 Australian titles before the Open era began in 1968, has a show court named in her honor adjacent to Rod Laver Arena.

On day three at Melbourne Park, the center court was — at least according to the two fans holding up a sign — “Serena's Arena.”

The heat topped 40 Celsius (104 F) during the 63-minute match, and peaked at just under 42 C (108 F) later during Novak Djokovic's 6-0, 6-4, 6-4 win over Leonardo Mayer. Second-seeded Djokovic, aiming to be the first man in the Open era to win four consecutive Australian Open titles, didn't face a break point.

Williams fended off the only break point she faced with an ace, one of her 10 in the match. She hit 24 winners, sticking to the ideal strategy of keeping the points short on a hot day.

She said didn't even go outside Tuesday because conditions “were a little bit extreme,” adding that the prospect of the scorching temperatures had even interrupted her sleep.

“I kept waking up in the middle of the night last night just paranoid. I just wanted to stay hydrated,” she said. “The last thing I want to do is to cramp in this weather. It can happen so easy.”

Williams next meets No. 31-seeded Daniela Hantuchova, who was on court for 3 hours, 13 minutes in her 6-3, 3-6, 12-10 win over Karolina Pliskova.

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Li Na, of China, makes a forehand return to Belinda Bencic, of Switzerland, during their second-round match at the Australian Open tennis championship in Melbourne on Wednesday. (AP)



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