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Page last updated at 11:45 GMT, Thursday, 22 January 2009

Venus in shock second-round exit

Venue: Melbourne Park Date: 19 January-1 February
Coverage: BBC Red Button, BBC One & Two (including all Andy Murray matches), Radio 5 Live sports extra, BBC Sport website (Red Button coverage streamed on website throughout fortnight)
Friday: Wozniacki v Dokic followed by Federer v Safin live on Red Button from 0830 GMT

Venus Williams
Venus looked a shadow of the player who triumphed at Wimbledon last year

Sixth seed Venus Williams suffered a major upset in the second round of the Australian Open, beaten by unseeded Spaniard Carla Suarez Navarro.

Suarez Navarro, playing in only her fourth Grand Slam, saved a match point before beating Williams 2-6 6-3 7-5.

The 20-year-old bettered her more decorated opponent for much of their two-and-a-quarter hour match.

Elsewhere, younger Williams sister Serena is through to the third round along with Russian Elena Dementieva.

Venus rarely looked like the reigning Wimbledon champion against the inexperienced but fearless Suarez Navarro, ranked 40 places beneath her in the world rankings and whose best Grand Slam showing is reaching last year's French Open quarter-final.

Initially overwhelmed, Suarez Navarro was broken twice in losing the first set, but turned the tables on Venus with a double break to take the second as the 28-year-old American's poise evaporated.

Venus appeared to have reasserted her authority in the third set, taking a 4-1 lead but Suarez Navarro dragged herself back into it and saved a match point at 4-5.

She broke in the next game and served out for a famous victory.

"We haven't quite figured out exactly which areas went wrong," said Venus afterwards. "But I definitely have to credit her.

She was super consistent and aggressive and just went for her shots

Venus Williams

"She was super consistent and aggressive and just went for her shots."

When asked if she was frustrated at another early exit here after her first round loss in 2006 she replied, "I don't believe in jinxes because I don't believe in witches or warlocks or magical creatures and stuff."

An understandably jubilant Suarez Navarro told a courtside reporter: "I don't know what I did, I only played. I don't know what to say."

Her reward is a third-round tie with fellow Spaniard Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez who saw off Uzbekistan's Akgul Amanmuradova 6-2 6-4 in round two.

Second seed Serena laboured to a straight-sets victory over Argentine Gisela Dulko.

The stubborn Dulko made the US star save six set points on the way to a 6-3 7-5 victory on the Hisense Arena.

Serena, who has won the Australian Open every alternate year since 2003, needed treatment for ankle trouble at the end of the marathon ninth game of her second set against Dulko.

She had a couple of opportunities but I always felt I wasn't going to lose

Serena Williams

Dulko squandered six set points then saved five break points before Williams finally put the game to bed, then held her own serve to even the set at 5-5.

Williams proceeded to break again in another gruelling game, featuring six deuces, before holding her serve to win the match with an ace.

"It was a very tough second set, she started playing unbelievable, hitting winners left and right," said Williams.

"She had a couple of opportunities but I always felt I wasn't going to lose.

"I feel I could play a lot better," she added. "Today I was at like a D minus at best."

Williams will play Peng Shuai of China in the third round after she beat Bulgaria's Sesil Karatancheva 6-4 6-0.

By contrast, Russian fourth seed Dementieva made short work of Czech opponent Iveta Benesova with a 6-4 6-1 victory.

The Beijing Olympic gold medallist, hunting a first Grand Slam title,will be feeling comparatively fresh having needed just over an hour to register a straight-sets victory over Benesova.

"I'm not thinking about my chances," she insisted.

"I'm really enjoying the way I'm playing right now and I just want to go as far as I can, just enjoy every single match I play here."

Russian eighth seed Svetlana Kuznetsova booked her place in the third round with an assured 6-2 6-2 victory over Germany's Tatjana Malek.

The wind was swirling around and it was hard, but I think I coped well

Svetlana Kuznetsova

The 23-year-old from St Petersburg, who won the US Open in 2004, was never in any trouble against Malek, ranked 239 in the world.

The Russian's main problem came from the high winds that swirled relentlessly around the exposed Margaret Court Arena.

"The conditions were hard but I think I played quite well with the wind, so I'm happy with that," she said.

"The wind was swirling around and it was hard - I had to move around a lot, but I think I coped well."

Swiss 14th seed Patty Schnyder was an early casualty, dumped out 6-3 6-1 by France's Virginie Razzano.

And 13th seed Victoria Azarenka, from Belarus, led Tathiana Garbin 4-1 when her Italian opponent retired through injury, sending Azarenka through to face French 20th seed Amelie Mauresmo.

Mauresmo came from a set down to see off Britain's Elena Baltacha.

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see also
Mauresmo triumphs over Baltacha
22 Jan 09 |  Tennis
Murray cruises into third round
22 Jan 09 |  Tennis
Top seed Nadal hammers Karanusic
22 Jan 09 |  Tennis
Aussie Open day four photos
22 Jan 09 |  Tennis
Aussie Open day four quotes
22 Jan 09 |  Tennis
Order of play
19 Jan 09 |  Tennis
Men's singles draw
26 Aug 11 |  Tennis
Women's singles draw
28 Jan 10 |  Tennis
Tennis on the BBC
07 Jan 09 |  Tennis

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