Australian Open - Azarenka eases into third round, Wozniacki also through

Victoria Azarenka marched into the Australian Open third round with a 6-1 6-4 win over Czech Barbora Zahlavova Strycova on Thursday to stay on course for a hat-trick of titles at Melbourne Park.

Reuters
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Victoria Azarenka of Belarus celebrates defeating Barbora Zahlavova Strycova of the Czech Republic in their women's singles match at the Australian Open 2014 tennis tournament in Melbourne January 16, 2014. (Reuters)

In a clash of former junior champions at Melbourne Park, the powerful Belarusian was dragged into a streetfight by the 84th ranked Czech but stayed firm to serve out the match in less than an hour and a half of a balmy evening session at Rod Laver Arena.

Azarenka avoided the blistering heat that plagued second round action and saw play suspended for four hours but was made to sweat as Zahlavova Strycova scrambled to chase down almost everything thrown at her.

Azarenka next faces the winner of Serbia's Bojana Jovanovski and Yvonne Meusburger of Austria.

Dane Caroline Wozniacki survived a surreal encounter with American Christina McHale to record a 6-0 1-6 6-2 victory on Rod Laver Arena on Thursday and move into the third round.

The 23-year-old former world number one had raced through the first set in 28 minutes under the closed roof due to extreme heat only for her game to implode as the 21-year-old McHale attacked her forehand and forced her into errors.

Just as easily as Wozniacki had won the first set, McHale won the second set in 31 minutes to send it into a decider before the 10th seed took a short break between sets.

The break appeared to settle her down and her high standard of play returned in the final set as she broke McHale twice to clinch victory in 103 minutes and set up a third round clash with Spain's Garbine Muguruza.

Muguruza overcame Slovakia's Anna Schmeidlova 6-3 6-3 out on Court 6, playing on for nearly 40 minutes after other matches had been suspended due to the scorching temperatures.

Fifth seed Agniezska Radwanska wasted little time in booking her place in the third round, despite a slight blip in concentation early in the second set. The Pole dispatched Belarus's Olga Govortsova 6-0 7-5 to set up a meeting with Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, an 6-2 6-2 winner over Mandy Minella before the suspension of play.

Romanian 11th seed Simona Halep survived a big scare as her more dominant opponent wilted badly in the heat to allow the 11th seed to progress with a 4-6 6-0 6-1 victory. American Varvara Lepchenko looked firmly in control of the match after taking the first set but could not maintain her standard and required a medical timeout for heat related symptoms at 0-5 in the second set.

The players went off for a 10-minute break before the start of the third, due to the heat policy, but it was not long enough to help Lepchenko and she lost the next five games before somehow finding one last hold of force Halep to serve out the match.

Halep will next face Kazakh qualifier Zarina Diyas, who ended New Zealand's interest in the singles with a routine 6-4 6-0 victory over Marina Erakovic.

Spain's Carla Suarez Navarro needed three house and 10 minutes to book her place in the third round, eventually overcoming Galina Voskoboeva 7-6(2) 3-6 8-6 to set up a clahs with Slovakia's Dominika Cibulkova. In direct contrast to Suarez Navarro, Cibulkova was on court for only 57 minutes as she dismissed Stefanie Voegele 6-0 6-1.

Round two results

2-Victoria Azarenka (Belarus) beat Barbora Zahlavova Strycova (Czech Republic) 6-1 6-4

3-Maria Sharapova (Russia) beat Karin Knapp (Italy) 6-3 4-6 10-8

5-Agnieszka Radwanska (Poland) beat Olga Govortsova (Belarus) 6-0 7-5

8-Jelena Jankovic (Serbia) beat Ayumi Morita (Japan) 6-2 6-0

10-Caroline Wozniacki (Denmark) beat Christina Mchale (U.S.) 6-0 1-6 6-2

11-Simona Halep (Romania) beat Varvara Lepchenko (U.S.) 4-6 6-0 6-1

13-Sloane Stephens (U.S.) beat Ajla Tomljanovic (Croatia) 3-6 6-2 7-5

16-Carla Suarez Navarro (Spain) beat Galina Voskoboeva (Kazakhstan) 7-6(2) 3-6 8-6

20-Dominika Cibulkova (Slovakia) beat Stefanie Voegele (Switzerland) 6-0 6-1

25-Alize Cornet (France) beat Camila Giorgi (Italy) 6-3 4-6 6-4

29-Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (Russia) beat Mandy Minella (Luxembourg) 6-2 6-2

Elina Svitolina (Ukraine) beat Olivia Rogowska (Australia) 6-4 7-5

Zarina Diyas (Kazakhstan) beat Marina Erakovic (New Zealand) 6-4 6-0

Garbine Muguruza Blanco (Spain) beat Anna Karolina Schmiedlova (Slovakia) 6-3 6-3

Kurumi Nara (Japan) beat 32-Magdalena Rybarikova (Slovakia) 6-4 6-3

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