Top seed Jelena Jankovic battled into the Australian Open third round yesterday as fellow Serb Ana Ivanovic showed glimpses of the grace and power that swept her to last year’s final.
But it was the low-profile Russian seventh seed Vera Zvonareva who produced a perfect 6-0, 6-0 display, while her third seeded compatriot Dafina Safina salvaged a patchy come-from-behind win.
Jankovic’s 6-4, 7-5 win over Belgian Kirsten Flipkens showcased the Serb’s fighting qualities but will do little to silence questions about how a player who has never won a Grand Slam title holds the world No. 1 ranking.
While never seriously threatened, Jankovic struggled to subdue a player rated 110 in the world who was determined to make the most of her moment on the big stage.
Ivanovic swept past Alberta Brianti of Italy in a manner that suggested she can turn around the form slump that has dogged her since she won last year’s French Open.
The Melbourne Park crowd favorite thrashed Brianti 6-3, 6-2, moving closer to her accomplishing mission to make amends for losing last year’s final to Maria Sharapova.
The 21-year-old was encouraged as her booming forehand finally found some its old potency and she blasted five aces past Brianti.
Russia’s Zvonareva may have trouble improving her game after a near-perfect display when she served up a dreaded “double bagel” 6-0, 6-0 scoreline to Edina Gallovits of Romania.
The 24-year-old won an incredible 91 percent of her first serves as she blew the hapless Gallovits off court in 46 minutes.
Fellow Russian Safina’s scoreline was far less emphatic, as she went down a set and dished up 44 unforced errors on the way to beating compatriot Ekaterina Makarova 6-7 (3/7), 6-3, 6-0.
Another Russian to progress was 10th seed Nadia Petrova, who downed India’s Sania Mirza 6-3, 6-2.
The only upset in the top half of the women’s draw came when Australian wildcard Jelena Dokic beat Russian 17th seed Anna Chakvetadze 6-4, 6-7 (4/7), 6-3.
A roar of support accompanied the former world No. 4’s first appearance on Melbourne Park’s center court for eight years, spurring Dokic to victory.
Clearly touched at the outpouring from the stands, Dokic held her emotions in check during the see-sawing match against Chakvetadze then slumped in her chair crying after winning the two hour 16 minute marathon.
“It’s been a long time, last time I was on this court it was a bit different. Thank you all for supporting me, it’s unbelievable,” she said.