Serena Williams advances in Melbourne, Kirilenko also through

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In the second match on Rod Laver Arena, 3rd seed Serena Williams took to the court to face off against the unseeded Ayumi Morita of Japan, ranked at number 72. These two players had never met before and pre match opinion was that this would be another of Serena’s demolition jobs. Serena got the first break in the first set to go 3-1 ahead and won the next three games to take the set 6-1. The five foot five inch Morita uses both hands on her forehand and backhand, a la Marion Bartoli, and she used these skills to run up a surprising 3-0 lead in the second set but, even though Williams hit far too many errors, she managed to win the next six games, to take the set 6-3 and progress to the round of 16.

On Show Court 2, two prodigious new talents – 29th seed Sloane Stephens of the USA and Laura Robson of Britain – did battle. Stephens went up two breaks to lead 4-1 when Robson had to have a time out for medical attention to her neck. On her return she won three games in a row to level and games went with serve to 5-5 when the American got the break to take the first set 7-5. In the second set Stephens again got the early break to lead 3-1 and 4-1, before Robson held for 2-4. The American then held for 5-2 and Robson for 3-5, but Stephens held her nerve and served out the set at 6-3.

Maria Kirilenko, the Russian 14th seed took on the strong Belgian 20th seed Yanina Wickmayer on Hisense Arena in a match that lasted just short of two hours. Kirilenko won the very tight first set on a tie breaker, 7-4. She then went on to take the second set, after a slew of breaks on both sides of the net, 6-4 to move into the last 16.

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