Classy Djokovic crushes Giraldo

Tennis Australian Open: Serena notches 500th career win; Sania-Vesnina advance in womens doubles

Landmark win Serena Williams en route to her victory of Barbora Zahlavova in Melbourne on Thursday. APBudding Hollywood actor Novak Djokovic led the way with a 6-3, 6-2, 6-1 demolition of Santiago Giraldo as a trio of former Australian Open champions reduced their opponents to bit-part characters on Thursday.

Djokovic makes his acting bow in the blockbuster ‘The Expendables 2’ later this year but the defending champion showed he had lost none of his appetite for the day job with an emphatic second-round victory at Melbourne Park.

Maria Sharapova and Serena Williams earlier swept into the third round to rumblings about the lack of depth in the women's game but second seed Petra Kvitova bucked the trend when her match threatened to turn into a horror show.

Scot Andy Murray, the losing finalist for the last two years here, was also in imposing form and there was no need for any ‘Braveheart’-inspired heroics as he despatched Frenchman Edouard Roger-Vasselin 6-1, 6-4, 6-4.

Djokovic revealed that he gets into a fight in his movie debut and, if the first film in the series is anything to go by, it is likely to be more of a dramatic tussle than the crowd  witnessed on Thursday.

Sharapova, the 2008 champion, took just 64 minutes to crush American qualifier Jamie Hampton 6-0, 6-1, while five-times winner Williams needed two minutes more to defeat Czech Barbora Zahlavova Strycova 6-0, 6-4. The third former winner in the women's draw, defending champion Kim Clijsters, progressed with a 6-0, 6-1 victory on the same Rod Laver Arena on Wednesday.

While a dreaded "double bagel" 6-0, 6-0 defeat has yet to be doled out this year, the rash of lop-sided contests has once again prompted questions about the gap in quality between the best and the rest in women's tennis. The performance of Kvitova's 58th-ranked opponent Carla Suarez Navarro was a riposte to those questions, however, as she forced the Wimbledon champion to fight back from a break down in the third set to salvage a 6-2, 2-6, 6-4 win.

When fit, Williams has often been at an elite level of her own over the years and her victory over Strycova was the 500th win of her career. "It's like the ultimate. It's really, really cool. Five hundred is a lot of matches to play, let alone to win," she said of the milestone.

The locals had something to shout about at the end of the day when Lleyton Hewitt, the former US Open and Wimbledon champion, progressed after 2003 US Open winner Andy Roddick retired hurt when trailing 3-6, 6-3, 6-4.

Sania Mirza and Russian partner Elena Vesnina entered the second round of the women’s doubles with a comprehensive 6-0, 6-2 victory over Greece’s Eleni Daniilidou and Alexandra Panova of Russia.

Important results (prefix denotes seeding): Men (second round): Julien Benneteau (Fra) bt 12-Gilles Simon (Fra) 7-5, 7-6 (10-8), 1-6, 3-6, 6-2; 14-Gael Monfils (Fra) bt Thomaz Bellucci (Bra) 2-6, 6-0, 6-4, 6-2; Mikhail Kukushkin (Kaz) bt 19-Viktor Troicki (Srb) 5-7, 6-4, 6-2, 4-6, 6-3; 4-Andy Murray (Gbr) bt Edouard Roger-Vasselin (Fra) 6-1, 6-4, 6-4; 17-Richard Gasquet (Fra) bt Andrey Golubev (Kaz) 6-4, 6-2, 3-0 (retd); 5-David Ferrer (Esp) bt Ryan Sweeting (US) 6-7 (4-7), 6-2, 3-6, 6-2, 6-3; 9-Janko Tipsarevic (Srb) bt James Duckworth (Aus) 3-6, 6-2, 7-6 (7-5), 6-4; 1-Novak Djokovic (Srb) bt Santiago Giraldo (Col) 6-3, 6-2, 6-1; 6-Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (Fra) bt Ricardo Mello (Bra) 7-5, 6-4, 6-4; Michael Llodra (Fra) bt 32-Alex Bogomolov Jr (Rus) 6-1, 6-3, 4-6, 5-7, 6-4; 23-Milos Raonic (Can) bt Philipp Petzschner (Ger) 6-4, 5-7, 6-2, 7-5; 27-Juan Ignacio Chela (Arg) bt Pablo Andujar (Esp) 6-4, 6-4, 6-3.   

Women (second round): 18-Svetlana Kuznetsova (Rus) bt Sloane Stephens (US) 7-6 (8-6), 7-5; 9-Marion Bartoli (Fra) bt Jelena Dokic (Aus) 6-3, 6-2; 27-Maria Kirilenko (Rus) bt Aleksandra Wozniak (Can) 6-4, 1-6, 6-2; Greta Arn (Hun) bt 17-Dominika Cibulkova (Svk) 6-2, 3-6, 7-6 (10-8); 14-Sabine Lisicki (Ger) bt Shahar Peer (Isr) 6-1, 6-2; Sorana Cirstea (Rom) bt Urszula Radwanska (Pol) 1-6, 6-2, 6-3; 30-Angelique Kerber (Ger) bt Stephanie Dubois (Can) 7-5, 6-1; 7-Vera Zvonareva (Rus) bt Lucie Hradecka (Cze) 6-1, 7-6 (7-3); 21-Ana Ivanovic (Srb) bt Michaella Krajicek (Ned) 6-2, 6-3; 4-Maria Sharapova (Rus) bt Jamie Hampton (US) 6-0, 6-1.

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