Federer serves up a winner for Prince William
Roger Federer was busy serving up a feast fit for a king when Prince William walked in. By the time the second in line for the British throne had settled into his front row seat on Rod Laver Arena, Federer was well on his way to beating Romania's Victor Hanescu 6-2, 6-3, 6-2, but the Prince still had time to enjoy some of King Roger's regal stroke play.
Prince William is on a tour of Australia and had spent part of his day in the Melbourne area visiting suburbs that had been devastated by last year's bush fires that claimed many lives. Princess Diana's son looked happy to have a more relaxed piece of scheduling and met Federer after the match.
"He looked very happy coming to a sports venue," said Federer. "I think he's had a very busy schedule the last few days. He shook a lot of hands and I knew mine was just one more. From what I've heard he met Serena and myself and came to watch my match. He said he was happy I played a little bit longer because the match could have been even shorter."
Despite the score line, Hanescu did not play particularly badly. It was just that Federer didn't let him play well. Standing 6-foot-6, Hanescu is always going to serve big, but whenever he missed his first delivery, Federer jumped all over his second and scored with some huge winners. There were moments when Hanescu was left standing in the middle of his baseline, watching Swiss forehands zip past him, yards out of reach. He was as much a spectator as the royal visitor.
Apart from meeting Prince William, Serena Williams got some tennis in -- sweeping past hard-hitting Czech Petra Kvitova 6-2, 6-1on Hisense Arena. Serena felt that she was moving better than in the first round and had better energy. Next up she has to play diminutive Spaniard Carla Suarez Navarro, who last year beat Venus here.
"She's really good -- so much talent," said Serena. "I know she took out Venus this time last year. I would hate to see it become a habit for her, taking out a sister this time every year."
Taylor Dent, still on the comeback trail after almost three years out of the game; eight months in bed and two serious back surgeries, threw everything he had at Jo-Wilfried Tsonga but it was still not enough to prevent the big Frenchman from moving into round three with a 6-4, 6-3, 6-3 victory.
Dent had scored a good straight sets victory over Italy's Fabio Fognini in the first round but Tsonga, a surprise finalist here in 2008 and seeded 10th this year, was too strong off the ground for a player who prefers to charge the net but was often prevented from doing so.
"It's getting impossible to serve and volley like Taylor used to," said Phil Dent, Taylor's father who played Davis Cup for Australia before settling in southern California. "It's the strings more than anything. The Big Banger strings enable the pros to put so much more spin on the ball so that they can go for huge returns and keep the ball in court. It's not the same for amateurs -- they don't have the power to make a difference. But these strings have changed the way the pro game is played."