Djokovic, Serena Williams comfortably through to third round
Maria Sharapova of Russia hits a forehand return to Aliaksandra Sasnovich of Belarus during their second round match at the Australian Open tennis championships in Melbourne, Australia, Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2016.(AP Photo/Vincent Thian)
MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) There's no doubt Novak Djokovic and Serena Williams feel right at home on Rod Laver Arena, where they've won a combined 11 Australian Open titles.
With five, Djokovic has already won more Australian titles than any other man in the Open era. He beat 19-year-old French wildcard entry Quentin Halys 6-1, 6-2, 7-6 (3) on Wednesday night to reach the third round here for the 10th straight year, moving another step closer to equaling the all-time record of six Australian titles set by Roy Emmerson in the 1960s when it was amateur.
Halys was overawed to start with, losing the first seven points to be down a 1-0 and facing triple break point before he managed to hold serve in a game lasting 10 minutes. He was level for a couple of minutes, before Djokovic went on a roll to win the next seven games. Djokovic lost only one match at a Grand Slam tournament last year – the French Open final. At Melbourne Park, he has lost only one match in the previous five tournaments. He gives even the second-round matches a sense of occasion.
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''This court just gives me so many beautiful memories, wonderful time,'' Djokovic said. ''Every time I step on the court it feels special.''
Williams has had so much success for such a long time that even in a second-round match she can set a record at the season's first Grand Slam event.
The six-time and defending champion beat No. 90-ranked Hsieh Su-wei 6-1, 6-2, an all-time record 79th main draw match at the Australian Open.
''It all started here – this is where I played my first Grand Slam right on this court and I'm still going, it's such an honor,'' said Williams, who has a 70-9 win-loss record at Melbourne Park since her debut in 1998. ''I love it every time I come here.''
For a long time, Rod Laver Arena just about belonged to Roger Federer. The four-time champion may not have won a title here since 2010, but he has extended his streak of reaching the third round at the Australian Open to 17 consecutive years.
Federer, playing his 65th consecutive major, advanced 6-3, 7-5, 6-1 over Alexandr Dolgopolov. It was his 299th match win at a major.
He lost in the third round in his first two trips to Melbourne Park in 2000 and '01 and again last year – in between he won the title four times and lost one final during a run of reaching the semifinals or better in 11 straight years.
''It's the least I expect to be in the third round of a Slam, obviously, so I'm pumped up, playing well, feeling good.
''But there's always a danger, you know. Like last year the third round was the end for me, so I hope to go further this time.''
Federer will next play Grigor Dimitrov, who has a style that has been compared with Federer's, after the No. 27-seeded player beat Marco Trungelliti 6-3, 4-6, 6-2, 7-5.
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga went to the aid of a ball girl in his match, gently helping her off the court in the third set when she became ill before finishing off a 7-5, 6-1, 6-4 win over Omar Jasika.
Other seeded players joining in the third round included No. 6 Tomas Berdych, No. 7 Kei Nishikori, 2014 U.S. Open champion Marin Cilic, No. 14 Gilles Simon, No. 15 David Goffin, No. 19 Dominic Thiem and No. 24 Roberto Bautista Agut.
In the biggest upset of the day, two-time Wimbledon champion and sixth-seeded Petra Kvitova was beaten 6-4, 6-4 by Russian-born Australian Daria Gavrilova.
Williams' next opponent will be 18-year-old Russian Daria Kasatkina, who beat Croatia's Ana Konjuh 6-4, 6-3, and she faces a potential quarterfinal match against 2015 finalist Maria Sharapova, who reached the third round with a 6-2, 6-1 win over Aliaksandra Sasnovich.
Williams was on course for a calendar-year Grand Slam in 2015 with wins here and at the French Open and Wimbledon before a semifinal loss at the U.S. Open to Roberta Vinci of Italy.
No. 13 Vinci beat Irina Falconi 6-2, 6-3 to advance, and is a potential fourth-round rival for No. 4 Agnieszka Radwanska, who beat Eugenie Bouchard 6-4, 6-2 in a match featuring two former Wimbledon finalists.
No. 10 Carla Suarez Navarro and No. 12 Belinda Bencic advanced along with 92nd-ranked Kateryna Bondarenko, who earned one of her biggest wins since returning from retirement in 2014 with a straight sets win over two-time major winner and No. 23-seeded Svetlana Kuznetsova.