Serena Williams and Roger Federer made swift progress as the leading names were untroubled in the third day session of the Australian Open.
Women’s top seed Williams beat Taiwan’s Hsieh Su-Wei 6-1 6-2 on Rod Laver Arena before men’s second seed Federer saw off Alexandr Dolgopolov 6-3 7-5 6-1.
“Conditions are extremely quick, so you’re not going to find much rhythm,” he said. “I thought I served great.”
Maria Sharapova beat Belarusian Aliaksandra Sasnovich 6-2 6-1.
Novak Djokovic plays Quentin Halys in Wednesday’s late session, while British number ones Andy Murray and Jo Konta resume their campaigns in the second round on Thursday.
Japanese seventh seed Kei Nishikori was another early winner on day three as he beat American Austin Krajicek 6-3 7-6 (7-5) 6-3, and Czech sixth seed Tomas Berdych beat Bosnia and Herzegovina’s Mirza Basic 6-4 6-0 6-3.
Ukraine’s Kateryna Bondarenko caused an upset with a 6-1 7-5 win over Russian 23rd seed Svetlana Kuznetsova, winner of the Sydney title last week.
Venus fined for media snub
World number 10 and seven-times Grand Slam champion Venus Williams was given a US$5,000 fine for failing to appear at a news conference on Tuesday.
The American, 35, did not fulfil her post-match media commitments after losing in straight sets to Britain’s Jo Konta.
Williams was fined US$3,000 by the International Tennis Federation at last year’s French Open for skipping her media duties following a first-round defeat by Sloane Stephens.
Asked whether her elder sister would return to Melbourne in 2017, defending champion Serena Williams said: “I would assume. She’s never mentioned anything about not being here, not competing.”
GB women set up doubles clash
Konta might have had a day off from singles duties, but she found the time to make progress in the doubles as Britain’s women provided a Fed Cup boost.
The world number 47 teamed up with Heather Watson to beat 16th seeds Gabriela Dabrowski and Alicja Rosolska 6-1 7-6 (9-7) in the first round.
Britain’s number one and two move on to face compatriots Jocelyn Rae and Anna Smith, who defeated China’s Chen Lian and Shuai Peng 3-6 6-2 7-6 (7-2).
Fed Cup captain Judy Murray will be keeping a close eye on that one, with all four players in her squad to travel to Israel for the gruelling Euro-Africa Zone tournament straight after Melbourne.
Quotes of the day
“I’d say it was pretty mediocre today. It’s actually something that I had to add, because I was getting really frustrated losing to my hitting partner all the time.” Maria Sharapova reveals the motivation behind her new willingness to play the drop shot.
“They don’t get so excited watching me play yet.” Roger Federer on why his twin daughters were reading books rather than watching dad.
“Oh, I don’t do those. I’m not good at those. I did when I was younger, and I was terrible at it. I know what I’m good at, and I know things I’m not going to excel at. I’m definitely not going to excel at that shot.” Serena Williams will not be attempting a between-the-legs shot any time soon.