Taiwan’s Chan Yung-jan and Zheng Jie of China cruised into the second round of the women’s doubles at the Australian Open yesterday, but there was bad news for Taiwanese players elsewhere at Melbourne Park.
Chan and Zheng, the 14th seeds, defeated Klara Koukalova of the Czech Republic and Stefanie Voegele of Switzerland 6-3, 6-0.
The cross-strait duo saved six of seven break-point chances and converted five of 11 to complete the lopsided victory in 58 minutes and set up a second-round clash with Lara Arruabarrena of Spain and Romania’s Irina-Camelia Begu, who defeated Chinese pairing Yang Zhaoxuan and Ye Qiuyu 5-7, 6-4, 6-4.
Elsewhere, it was a miserable day for Taiwanese players.
On Court 7, Taiwan’s Chuang Chia-jung and Zhang Shuai of China fell to a 6-3, 6-3 defeat to Daniela Hantuchova of Slovakia and Italy’s Karin Knapp in 1 hour, 28 minutes.
Chuang and Zhang converted only two of their 11 break-point opportunities, while their opponents converted all five they created.
In the men’s doubles, Taiwan’s Lee Hsin-han and Zhang Ze of China lost 6-1, 6-4 to second-seeded French duo Julien Benneteau and Edouard Roger-Vasselin in just 46 minutes.
Lee and Zhang failed to create a single break-point opportunity.
In the second round of the women’s singles, Taiwan’s Chang Kai-chen was defeated 6-1, 7-5 by 25th seed Barbora Zahlavova Strycova of the Czech Republic.
Chang won two of three break-point chances in a second-set fightback, but it was not enough to oust the world No. 23, who faces Victoria Azarenka in the third round.
Serena Williams was slow to get going before finding her groove to bulldoze into the third round, joining rampant fellow world No. 1 Novak Djokovic.
With the temperatures again sizzling around 33?C, the 18-time Grand Slam champion took time to adjust to the sauna-like conditions against Russian veteran Vera Zvonareva.
She had to save two set points before exploding into action in the second set to easily win 7-5, 6-0 and keep alive her dream of a sixth Australian Open title.
Djokovic, gunning to be crowned champion a fifth time, was on fire in his showdown against Andrey Kuznetsov, crushing the hapless Russian 6-0, 6-1, 6-4, while defending champion Stan Wawrinka had to work hard to get past Marius Copil.
In a blockbuster clash, two-time champion Azarenka crushed close friend and eighth seed Caroline Wozniacki 6-4, 6-2 as her comeback from injury gathers steam.
While the old guard of Williams and Maria Sharapova are safely into the third round, the new generation of Eugenie Bouchard and Simona Halep have looked more impressive in the early rounds.
Sixth seed Agnieszka Radwanska is also in ominous form after hiring former great Martina Navratilova as her coach.
The Pole, a semi-finalist last year, took just 44 minutes to brush aside Sweden’s Johanna Larsson 6-0, 6-1 and has lost only four games in two matches.
“She’s helped me a lot, on and off the court,” Radwanska said of Navratilova.
Williams faces a tricky third-round match against another of the new young guns in Spanish world No. 24 Garbine Muguruza, who beat Daniela Hantuchova 6-1, 0-6, 6-1.
Her sister Venus also progressed, as did Czech fourth seed Petra Kvitova.
Djokovic came out of the blocks firing against Kuznetsov, who had no answer to his booming serve and powerful groundstrokes in a masterclass performance.
“Overall I executed the game plan,” the Serb said. “Everything I intended to do, almost 100 percent, from every second in my game, serve, baseline play, aggressive shots and aggressive returns.”
Fifth seed Kei Nishikori of Japan was forced to four sets by Croatia’s Ivan Dodig, digging deep to keep his dream of a maiden major title alive with a 4-6, 7-5, 6-2, 7-6 (7/0) win in front of a noisy pro-Japanese crowd.
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