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Page last updated at 06:13 GMT, Saturday, 23 January 2010

Serena Williams storms into last 16 at Australian Open

AUSTRALIAN OPEN
Venue: Melbourne Park Date: 18-31 January
BBC coverage: Every Murray match live on BBC 1 or 2
Daily from 0830 GMT: live on BBC Red Button/website, 5 Live sports extra
Daily from 0000 GMT: text commentary on BBC Sport website


Serena Williams
Serena is in the hunt for her fifth Australian Open title

Serena Williams kept her Australian Open title defence on track by racing into the fourth round with a 6-0 6-3 victory over Carla Suarez-Navarro.

World number one Serena had too much power and variety for her Spanish opponent, winning in 80 minutes to set up a last-16 meeting with Sam Stosur.

Sixth seed Venus Williams, meanwhile, beat Casey Dellacqua 6-1 7-6 (7-4).

Seeds Caroline Wozniacki, Victoria Azarenka and Vera Zvonareva all enjoyed straight-sets wins.

Serena got off to a blistering start against Suarez-Navarro and had opened up a 5-0 lead after only 15 minutes and wrapped up the first set on her eighth opportunity.

Suarez-Navarro, who accounted for Venus Williams in the second round in 2009, settled in the second set but Serena showed her superb athleticism to chase down many of the Spaniard's best shots and return them with interest.

The 11-time Grand Slam champion broke 32nd seed Suarez-Navarro in game three and then, after holding comfortably for 5-3, seized on a loose game by her opponent to break again and take the match.

Playing the number one player in the world, defending champion, I can go out there and really enjoy it. I know I won the last time we played against each other

Sam Stosur on facing Serena

Standing between Serena and a place in the quarter-finals is Stosur after the 13th seed opened play on Rod Laver Arena with a 6-4 6-1 triumph against Italy's Alberta Brianti.

The most recent meeting, on the Stanford hard courts in 2009, saw Australian number one Stosur win 6-2 3-6 6-2.

Serena then added fuel to the fire by accusing Stosur of being a good "framer", implying many of her winning shots of being mis-hits.

But after her win over Suarez-Navarro, Serena said: "I don't remember that. She's a good friend of mine, so I like her a lot.

"She beat me the last time we played, so she has a lot of momentum. A ton of momentum.

"She serves great. She gets a lot of big, big first serves. I definitely expect the crowd to root for Sam."

And Stosur said: "I'm looking forward to it. I've lived up to my expectation and I've got to where I should have got to.

"Playing the number one player in the world, defending champion, I can go out there and really enjoy it. I know I won the last time we played against each other.

"That's probably not going to mean too much going into Monday's match, but at least I know I've be able to beat her before."

WOMEN'S FOURTH ROUND
S Williams v Stosur
Zvonareva v Azarenka
Wozniacki v Li
Schiavone v V Williams
Henin v Wickmayer
Petrova v Kuznetsova
Bondarenko v Zheng
Kirilenko v Safina

Venus Williams appeared set to enjoy the afternoon sunshine after ploughing through the first set of her match against Dellacqua in 38 minutes and going up an early break in the second.

The Australian broke back to level at 4-4 and held on for a tie-break to the delight of home fans, but Williams finished in style - sending down a huge ace to confirm her progress.

"I think Casey really played well, I have to give her credit for raising her game," said Williams of Dellacqua, who has returned to action after shoulder surgery.

"She has great things in her future she just has to stay healthy."

Next up for Venus is Francesca Schiavone after the 17th seed claimed a superb 6-2 6-2 victory over 10th seed Agnieszka Radwanska.

World number four Wozniacki is a potential quarter-final opponent for the sixth-seeded American.

The 19-year-old Dane booked a fourth-round meeting with Li Na after a 6-4 6-0 win over Israel's Shahar Peer in the final match of the day on Rod Laver Arena.

Azarenka earlier continued her impressive run of form by outclassing Garbin 6-0 6-2 under the Hisense Arena roof, which was closed following a rain shower.

The 20-year-old, who has only lost eight games so far in Melbourne, was untouchable until Garbin finally got her name on the scoreboard midway through the second set.

"I think I did very well today - I had a good game plan and followed it perfectly," said Azarenka. "I was going for my shots and playing comfortably and confidently."

The Belarusian next plays ninth seed Zvonareva, who beat Gisela Dulko 6-1 7-5.

Azarenka has not beaten Zvonareva in any of their previous four meetings, the 25-year-old Muscovite winning each match in straight sets.

"It's a good challenge for me," Azarenka said. "I hope I turn around our record, I'm just going to try my best and we'll see how it goes.

606: DEBATE
Celibell

Zvonareva, who lost to Dinara Safina in the 2009 semi-finals, underwent ankle surgery towards the end of 2009 but already looks to be fit and firing.

"I'm just enjoying my time out there - I didn't expect to be even playing the Australian Open," she said.

"I had my ankle surgery in November and the whole of December I wasn't able to be on the court a lot.

"I'm not judging my form, just working hard and trying to improve little by little. My ankle is feeling much better so I'm happy about that."

There was also a win for Li Na, the 16th seed from China beating Daniela Hantuchova 7-5 3-6 6-2.



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see also
Ruthless Federer into round four
23 Jan 10 |  Tennis
Australian Open day six photos
23 Jan 10 |  Tennis
Order of play
23 May 09 |  Tennis
Men's singles draw
26 Aug 11 |  Tennis
Women's singles draw
28 Jan 10 |  Tennis
Tennis on the BBC
26 Oct 11 |  Tennis


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