AUSTRALIAN OPEN

Safina battles hard as Zvonareva boasts clean sheet

Dinara Safina overcame stiff resistance from fellow Russian Ekaterina Makarova to reach the third round in Melbourne. Meanwhile, seventh seed Vera Zvonareva delivered a perfect performance to win without dropping a single game.

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AFP - Top seed Jelena Jankovic battled into the Australian Open third round Wednesday as fellow Serb Ana Ivanovic showed glimpses of the grace and power that swept her to last year's final.

But it was the low-profile Russian seventh seed Vera Zvonareva who produced a perfect 6-0, 6-0 display, while her third seeded compatriot Dafina Safina salvaged a patchy come-from-behind win.

Jankovic's 6-4, 7-5 win over Belgian Kirsten Flipkens showcased the Serb's fighting qualities but will do little to silence questions about how a player who has never won a Grand Slam title holds the world number one ranking.

While never seriously threatened, Jankovic struggled to subdue a player rated 110 in the world who was determined to make the most of her moment on the big stage.

"I wasn't really happy with my game, with what I was doing on the court. So I have to clean up my game a little bit and try to do the right things for my next match," she said.

"I had to hang in there and find my way to get through the match," she added, expressing confidence she would improve as the tournament progressed.

There was no shortage of confidence as fifth seed Ivanovic swept past Alberta Brianti of Italy in a manner that suggested she can finally turn around the form slump that has dogged her since she won last year's French Open.



The Melbourne Park crowd favourite thrashed Brianti 6-3, 6-2, moving closer to her accompplishing mission to make amends for losing last year's final to Maria Sharapova.

The 21-year-old was encouraged as her booming forehand finally found some its old potency and she blasted five aces past Brianti.

"This year, I really think I can still improve and build up on my game, hopefully take a step further,"

Russia's Zvonareva may have trouble improving her game after a near-perfect display when she served up a dreaded "double bagel" 6-0, 6-0 scoreline to Edina Gallovits of Romania.

The 24-year-old won an incredible 91 percent of her first serves as she blew the hapless Gallovits off court in 46 minutes.

She had the best year of her career in 2008, winning Olympic bronze and reaching the final of the season-ending WTA Championships, coming into the Australian Open as a dark horse capable of upsetting high profile rivals.

Fellow Russian Safina's scoreline was far less emphatic, as she went down a set and dished up 44 unforced errors on the way to beating compatriot Ekaterina Makarova 6-7 (3/7), 6-3, 6-0.

The 22-year-old indicated she would continue to go for broke in her quest for a maiden Grand Slam that would allow her to emerge from big brother Marat Safin's shadow.

"I'd rather go for my shots and I miss them than be consistent and push the ball. What's the point?" she said.

"I can make zero unforced errors if somebody wants, I just won't hit any winners. So it's better to go for the shots. Maybe I'll hit some unforced errors, but I will still make more winners than unforced errors to win the match."

Another Russian to progress was 10th seed Nadia Petrova, who downed India's Sania Mirza 6-3, 6-2.


Australian Open women's singles second round results:

Lucie Safarova (Czech Republic) beat Marina Erakovic (New Zealand) 6-1 3-6 9-7

Sara Errani (Italy) beat Monica Niculescu (Romania) 6-2 6-3

Jelena Jankovic (Serbia) beat Kirsten Flipkens (Belgium) 6-4 7-5

Alize Cornet (France) beat Andrea Petkovic (Germany) 6-1 6-0

Vera Zvonareva (Russia) beat Edina Gallovits (Romania) 6-0 6-0

Alisa Kleybanova (Russia) beat Stephanie Cohen-Aloro (France) 6-1 3-6 6-2

Daniela Hantuchova (Slovakia) beat Mathilde Johansson (France) 6-3 4-6 6-3

Dinara Safina (Russia) beat Ekaterina Makarova (Russia) 6-7(3) 6-3 6-0

Ai Sugiyama (Japan) beat Nathalie Dechy (France) 1-6 6-1 6-3

Ana Ivanovic (Serbia) beat Alberta Brianti (Italy) 6-3 6-2

Kaia Kanepi (Estonia) beat Patricia Mayr (Austria) 6-3 6-1

Nadia Petrova (Russia) beat Sania Mirza (India) 6-3 6-2

Galina Voskoboeva (Kazakhstan) beat Karin Knapp (Italy) 6-4 6-1
 

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