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Li Na eases into second round in Australian Open


10:10, January 16, 2013

As the first Grand Slam of the tennis season is underway in Melbourne. In action on day one, was China's top hope-the sixth seeded Li Na. She comes into the Australian Open in solid form, winning the inaugural Shenzhen Open a couple weeks back and then backing that up with a run to the the semi-finals of the Sydney International last week. So Li, looking to continue her momentum in round one.

And Li, who was a finalist at the 2011 edition of the Aussie Open, would have an easy time of it as she took on the unseeded Sesil Karatantcheva of Kazakhstan. The 113th ranked Kazakh had little to offer Li in the opening set,as the Chinese cruised to the first set win. Li, taking it handily 6-1.

Li continued her form in the second set, breaking her opponent four times and hitting 21 winners to just six in total in the match for Karatantcheva. Li Na advanced to the second round by winning the game 6-1, 6-3. She will meet Olga Govorstova of Belarus in round two.

Li Na said ,"Every player here in this tournament is pretty strong. It means you are a great player as long as you are involved in these four tournaments. No one will hand the victory to others. No one would consider their match this way."

China's Zheng Jie has also earned her place in the next round by beating her wild card compatriot Zhang Yuxuan 6-1, 3-6, 6-4.

The 2010 Australian Open semi-finalist will meet former US Open champion Samantha Stosur in the second round. Zheng edged out the Australian 2-1 at the Sydney International last week.

Maria Sharapova, who is coming off a shoulder injury, swept aside any fears about her fitness with a ruthless 6-0, 6-0 victory over Olga Puchkova as a trio of top women progressed with ease on the first morning. The second seed appeared desperate for competition but was given little of it in a 55-minute rout.

The USA's Venus Williams could meet Sharapova in the third round and proved she could be a handful for the second seed by winning 12 successive games to beat Kazakh Galina Voskoboeva 6-1, 6-0. Williams lost her only Australian Open final to her sister Serena in 2003.

On the men's side, Novak Djokovic successfully negotiated the first hurdle in his quest to rewrite the tournament record books with an opening round straight sets victory over France's Paul-Henri Mathieu. The 25-year-old Serb is attempting to win his third successive Australian Open title, and fourth overall. No man in the professional era has won three successive Australian titles. The world number one will now meet Ryan Harrison of the US in the second round.

In other men's games, 5th seed Tomas Berdych beat Michael Russell in straight sets, while 10th seed Nicolas Almagro beat Steve Johnson 3-1.

In women's side, 4th seed Agnieszka Radwanska beat Bojana Bobusic 2-0. 5th seed Angelique Kerber beat Elina Svitolina in straight sets, while 9th seed Samantha Stosur edged out Kai-Chen Chang 2-0. So far, there hasn't been any major upsets in Melbourne.

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