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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Williams moves to 3rd round

Spain's Rafael Nadal lies on the court  after a second-round win over Russia's Mikhail Youzhny, 6-1, 4-6, 4-6, 7-5, 6-3.
 (Associated Press / The Spokesman-Review)
Associated Press

MELBOURNE, Australia – Venus Williams wore down Peng Shuai and closed out a 6-3, 6-1 win today with a stinging crosscourt forehand that put her into the third round of the Australian Open.

Williams lost her opening service game, but broke right back to start a five-game winning streak. That sent her on the way to eliminating Peng, who upset French Open champion Anastasia Myskina at the Sydney International last week.

Williams cut her errors in half and doubled the number of clean winners in the second set, while Peng started misfiring with the powerful groundstrokes that were winning shots early.

“Wasn’t she a beautiful player?” said Williams, who joined younger sister, Serena, in the third round. “I had no idea who she was.”

Myskina and top-seeded Lindsay Davenport had more trouble, but managed to advance.

Davenport earned a 2-6, 6-2, 6-2 victory over Michaela Pastikova, the world’s 99th-ranked player who was entered in her first Grand Slam tournament after 13 failed qualifying attempts.

Myskina, the No. 3 seed, berated herself and looked dismayed after many of the 25 errors she had to overcome on the way to defeating No. 114 Tzipora Obziler of Israel 6-4, 6-2 in the second round.

Davenport made 10 errors as she muddled through the first set. She picked up her play and had only one unforced error in the second set before firing five aces in the third.

The American won the first nine points in the final set and led 5-1 before Pastikova held her serve and made Davenport serve out the match. Somebody in the crowd yelled: “Just finish it, Lindsay!” Davenport sealed it two points later on consecutive errors from Pastikova.

“I just wasn’t ready to be at my very best at the beginning,” Davenport said. “She was very aggressive and caught me on the back foot.

“I tried to buckle down. … I knew I wasn’t playing my best, so I thought I’d do what I needed to do. In the second and third sets, I got off to good starts, and that carried me through.”

Myskina had problems with her serve and trailed 3-1 in the first set, muttering to herself and gesturing at lines after losing points.

“My emotion doesn’t really help me on court,” she said.

She regained control and won four consecutive games to close out the first set, and then didn’t face a break point in the second.

Myskina will take on 25th-seeded Lisa Raymond, a 6-0, 6-1 winner over Clara Koukalova, in the third round. Last year, Raymond upset Venus Williams, then seeded third, in the third round en route to the Australian Open quarterfinals.

American Abigail Spears, playing only her second major, knocked out No. 20 Tatiana Golovin of France 7-5, 6-1 to make the third round.

“She got in my face from the start,” said Golovin, whose preparation was restricted by a virus. “I don’t want to make excuses, I was feeling OK physically, but it played a part.”

In other women’s matches, 14th-seeded Francesca Schiavone beat Tatiana Perebiynis 2-6, 6-3, 6-0, and 26th-seeded Daniela Hantuchova had a 6-4, 6-0 win over 28-year-old Barbara Schett, who retired from singles play after the match.

No. 13 Karolina Sprem and No. 27 Anna Smashnova also advanced, while Czech player Nicole Vaidisova beat No. 31 Jelena Kostanic of Croatia.

On the men’s side, No. 14 Sebastien Grosjean, No. 15 Mikhail Youzhny, No. 17 Andrei Pavel and No. 18 Nicolas Massu were the four seeded players ousted from the men’s draw, while No. 23 Fernando Gonzalez, No. 25 Juan Ignacio Chela and No. 32 Jurgen Melzer advanced.

Grosjean led fellow Frenchman Jean-Rene Lisnard 6-1, 4-1 before calling for a trainer to treat his injured left thigh. Grosjean saved two match points in the fifth set before dropping his serve and losing 1-6, 4-6, 6-3, 6-4, 6-3.