MELBOURNE, Australia – Serena Williams lost only seven points in the second set and cruised to a 6-3, 6-0 victory today over Dally Randriantefy in the second round of the Australian Open.
The seventh-seeded Williams didn’t drop a point on serve in the second set until the final game when she made two unforced errors. She set up match point with a curling forehand winner and ended the match in 48 minutes with her sixth ace.
“I definitely tried to step my game up,” said Williams, who hit 38 winners and 18 unforced errors.
The 2003 Australian Open champion yelled “No!” at herself for blowing two break chances in the fifth game of the second set, then responded with a classic backhand winner down the line.
My form “is definitely getting better and better with each match,” she said. “I hit a lot of winners against a girl that actually gets a lot of balls back. So I was excited.”
Williams is trying to recapture the form that made her the 2003 Australian Open champion. That victory completed her personal Grand Slam of four consecutive majors. She missed last year’s tournament because of a knee injury.
Williams will play 18-year-old Sania Mirza, a 6-2, 6-1 winner over Petra Mandula, in the next round. Mirza, playing in her first major, is the first Indian woman to make the third round of a Grand Slam tournament.
Second-ranked Amelie Mauresmo, the Olympic silver medalist and runner-up here in 1999, overcame poor serving in the first set and reeled off the last 10 consecutive games in a 2-6, 6-1, 6-0 win over 18-year-old Dinara Safina.
U.S. Open champion Svetlana Kuznetsova needed just 40 minutes to beat Marion Bartoli of France 6-2, 6-0.
She dictated play from the start, breaking Bartoli in the first game.
No. 9 seed Vera Zvonareva was the highest-ranked woman knocked out of the tournament, losing 6-3, 6-3 by Russian compatriot Vera Douchevina.
American Amy Frazier, seeded 21st, defeated Denisa Chladkova 6-1, 3-6, 6-2.
In other women’s matches, Evgenia Linetskaya was a 6-0, 6-2 winner over Martina Sucha, and Li Na beat 28th-seeded Shinobu Asagoe 6-3, 6-4.
On the men’s side, French Open champion Gaston Gaudio overcame Olympic silver medalist Mardy Fish 2-6, 6-4, 7-5, 7-6 (4), and Belgium’s Olivier Rochus had a 6-1, 6-3, 6-3 win over Gael Monfils, an 18-year-old Frenchman.
Tommy Robredo, seeded 13th, advanced, while 16th-seeded Tommy Haas was upset 5-7, 2-6, 6-2, 7-6 (5), 6-3 by Slovakia’s Karol Beck.
Second-ranked Andy Roddick lost only five points on serve in the first set before beating Georgian Irakli Labadze 7-5, 6-2, 6-1. No. 3 Lleyton Hewitt was rarely troubled in his 6-3, 6-4, 6-1 victory over Arnaud Clement.
Davenport, the top-seeded woman, was on the verge of quitting last season but believes she can win her fourth Grand Slam title.
If her 6-1, 6-0 victory over 1994 Wimbledon champion Conchita Martinez was any indication, she’s recovered from a nagging knee problem and a bout of bronchitis that limited her preparation.
No. 8 seed Venus Williams, who won the last of her four majors at the U.S. Open in 2001, moved into the second round with a 6-1, 7-5 win against Eleni Daniilidou.
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