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Wozniacki, Henin into 3rd round at Australian Open

Posted By: Pti

Melbourne, Jan 19 (AP) Caroline Wozniacki advanced to thethird round of the Australian Open with an emphatic 6-1, 6-0win over American Vania King today as her first major atop therankings continued to gather momentum.

The 20-year-old Danish player was never troubled in the58-minute match, breaking 88th-ranked King''s serve to finishit off and reach the third round for a 13th consecutive GrandSlam tournament. She has yet to win a major, but has held theNo. 1 ranking since October and can retain it by reaching thesemifinals here.

To get to the semis, she might have to beat seven-timeGrand Slam winner Justine Henin, who continued her comebackfrom injury with a 6-1, 6-3 win over Elena Baltacha of Britainon center court.

The pair could meet in the quarterfinals. Henin will haveto get through a tough match against two-time major winnerSvetlana Kuznetsova just to get past the third round. The23-seeded Kuznetsova beat Dutch qualifier Arantxa Rus 6-1,6-4.

"I have a lot of good memories, almost all good memories,from Melbourne," said Henin, the 2004 Australian champion andrunner-up here in 2006 and last year, when she was returningfrom a career break from the tour.

Her comeback was stalled after Wimbledon - she couldn''tplay because of an elbow injury - and is making another returnof sorts at Melbourne Park.

"I''ve been fighting hard the last few months and it''sgreat to be back in Australia."

Wimbledon finalist Tomas Berdych needed four matchpoints, struggling to finish it off with his serve in the lastgame, to beat Philipp Kohlschreiber 4-6, 6-2, 6-3, 6-4.

No. 8 Andy Roddick had no such trouble, firing his 17thace to finish off a 7-6 (7), 6-2, 6-3 second-round win overIgor Kunitsyn of Russia.

The former No. 1-ranked Roddick is into the third roundat Melbourne Park for the ninth straight time.

Roddick''s friend and U.S. Davis Cup teammate Mardy Fishmade a second-round exit, the No. 16 seed losing 1-6, 6-3,6-3, 6-3 to Tommy Robredo. Japan''s Kei Nishikori beatGermany''s Florian Mayer 6-4, 6-3, 0-6, 6-3.

Including Wozniacki, three women could finish thetournament at No. 1. Kim Clijsters and Vera Zvonareva are theothers, and they opened with straight-set first-round winsyesterday. (MORE) AP SNK

Clijsters had no charity for former No. 1-ranked Dinara Safina in a 6-0, 6-0 victory.

"I expect my opponent to come out and play their besttennis. She obviously didn''t do that," said Clijsters, who haswon the U.S. Open twice since returning to the tour from abreak to have a child.

"But my attitude still was there to try and finish it offand not let her get back in the match."

The first-round match involving Lleyton Hewitt,Clijsters'' ex-fiance, was altogether different - a 4-hour,48-minute five-set loss to David Nalbandian that ended at 1:10a.m. today.

Jo-Wilfred Tsonga, the 2008 Australian Open finalist,came back from two sets down for the first time in his careerin another late five-setter.

In 15 runs at the Australian Open, Hewitt''s best finishwas his 2005 final defeat. He''ll be 30 next month. Australiahasn''t produced a homegrown winner of the nationalchampionship since Mark Edmondson in 1976. The drought isn''tlikely to end soon.

Now all the talk in Melbourne will be about Rafael Nadaland his pursuit for a "Rafa Slam."

The Spaniard played only 11 games in his opening matchyesterday, the match curtailed because of Marcos Daniel''sinjured left knee. Not content to extend his Grand Slam stringof 22 match wins with the 6-0, 5-0 scoreline, Nadal went tothe practice courts to work on his serve. That''s the elementof his game he thinks he needs to improve to become the firstman in 41 years to hold all four majors at once.

Laver last did it in 1969, in a calendar year. Nadal''sbid for a "Rafa Slam" started a few months after he limped outof Melbourne Park last year with an injured knee afterretiring from his Australian Open quarterfinal against AndyMurray. He then won the French, Wimbledon and U.S. Opentitles.

Murray, who lost last year''s Australian final to RogerFederer, didn''t have to go three full sets, either. He wasleading Karol Beck 6-3, 6-1, 4-2 when the Slovakian retiredwith a shoulder problem. No. 4 Robin Soderling defeated PotitoStarace 6-4, 6-2, 6-2.

After lopsided first-round wins, Federer and 2008champion Novak Djokovic are back in action today in the secondround.

Federer plays Gilles Simon, whom he hasn''t beaten intheir two previous matches and is one of only three men ontour with a winning record against him. (AP) SNK

Story first published: Wednesday, January 19, 2011, 13:01 [IST]
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