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Serena races to fourth round on Australian Open Day 5

January 22, 2016 09:29 AM

By Ashley Marshall, USTA.com

Serena Williams’ bid for a seventh Australian Open title remained on course on Day 5 in Melbourne with a dominant third-round victory over Russia’s Daria Kasatkina.

The world No. 1 blitzed past the 18-year-old, 6-1, 6-1, in just 44 minutes on Friday, slapping 27 winners and losing only 18 points to her 69th-ranked opponent.

Kasatkina, who also reached the third round of the US Open in September, had no answer for the defending champion’s power. She won just two total points in Serena’s seven service games.

The victory moves the 34-year-old American into the fourth round of the Australian Open for the 13th time in her career. She has only failed to make this stage of the competition three times before, the most recent time coming in 2006, and before that during her first two trips to Melbourne in 1998 and 1999.

Serena, who has won 36 of her past 37 Grand Slam women’s singles matches, will play unseeded Margarita Gasparyan in the round of 16 on Sunday, with the winner of that match scheduled to face either No. 5 seed Maria Sharapova or 12th-seeded Belinda Bencic in the quarterfinals.

Sharapova advanced despite a second-set scare against world No. 103 Lauren Davis. The 2008 champion looked to be in control of the match after taking the first set 6-1, but the 22-year-old Ohio native rallied back to take the second set and force a decider. Sharapova regained control of the contest with an early break, however, and she ran out to a 6-1, 6-7(5), 6-0 victory.

In doubles play, men’s third seeds Mike and Bob Bryan toppled Mahesh Bhupathi and Gilles Muller, 6-3, 6-2, to book their place in the third round. Jack Sock and Canadian partner Vasek Pospisil had a walkover to the third round over Robin Haase and Fernando Verdasco after Verdasco was forced to withdraw with an injury.

Austin Krajicek and Donald Young fell to No. 2 seeds Ivan Dodig and Marcelo Melo and fellow all-American duo Steven Johnson and Sam Querrey lost out to No. 13 seeds Rajeev Ram and Raven Klaasen in three sets.

In the women’s doubles, Americans Irina Falconi and Varvara Lepchenko lost to Anabel Medina Garrigues and Arantxa Parra Santonja of Spain, Bethanie Mattek-Sands and partner Sabine Lisicki fell to Australian duo Anastasia Rodionova and Arina Rodionova, and Madison Keys and Aussie Ana Tomljanovic lost to Dominika Cibulkova and Kirsten Flipkens.

Saturday sees the bottom half of the men’s and women’s draw in third-round singles action, in addition to the conclusion of the second round of women’s doubles plus the start of the mixed doubles and junior competitions.

Women’s No. 15 seed Madison Keys takes on No. 20 seed Ana Ivanovic of Serbia in the first night match on Rod Laver Arena and unseeded Madison Brengle tackles German seventh seed Angelique Kerber in Margaret Court Arena. Lepchenko will play China’s Shuai Zhang for a spot in the round of 16.

In the men’s draw, No. 10 seed John Isner faces his toughest assignment so far in Melbourne against 18th-seeded Feliciano Lopez of Spain, while No. 31 Johnson goes up against another Spaniard, world No. 8 David Ferrer.