Top seeds cruise in Melbourne
MELBOURNE (AFP) – The women’s top seeds barely shifted out of first gear Friday with Agnieszka Radwanska, Angelique Kerber and Li Na leading the drive into the Australian Open fourth round.
Seeded four, five and six respectively, they were joined by Ana Ivanovic who won a battle of former world number ones by beating fellow Serb Jelena Jankovic.
Poland’s Radwanska is the form player this year, winning her 12th match in a row without dropping a set in her best ever start to a season, something she put down to a new-found confidence.
The world number four proved too strong for Britain’s Heather Watson in a 6-3, 6-1 thumping as she searches for her first Grand Slam title.
“I think I’ve never won 12 matches in a row,” the Pole said. “It was my first time I played Auckland and Sydney and it was a good start. I can’t complain.”
She said she changed nothing in her game during the off-season, but is feeling more confident about herself.
“I’m very confident from the beginning and just happy that I can play really my best tennis from the beginning of the year,” said the 23-year-old.
Radwanska, who won lead-up tournaments in Auckland and Sydney, next faces 13th seed Ivanovic who eased past Jankovic 7-5, 6-3.
Ivanovic won the French Open title in 2008, but has failed to make any significant impact at a Grand Slam since. But she proved too much for Jankovic, who has also struggled to recapture her best form in recent years.
Ivanovic said she has worked hard to lose weight and build strength.
“I’m happy to see the results, and I definitely move a lot better and faster. Still, there is a lot of room for improvement, but, you know, some things take time,” she said.
China’s top player Li is also a former winner at Roland Garros, in 2011, and she breezed past Romania’s Sorana Cirstea 6-4, 6-1. The sixth seed, a finalist at Melbourne Park in 2011, next plays 18th-seeded German Julia Goerges, who beat Li’s compatriot Zheng Jie 6-3, 1-6, 7-5 in their third round clash.