Ana Ivanovic and Novak Djokovic cruised into the third round of the Australian Open on Wednesday, with both 21-year-old Serbs looking as if they could make another memorable run in the season's first major.
Ivanovic beat Italian Alberta Brianti 6-3, 6-2 at Rod Laver
Arena, and defending men's champion Djokovic followed with a 7-5,
6-1, 6-3 win over Frenchman Jeremy Chardy.
Top-ranked Jelena Jankovic, the only one of the emerging Serbian
trio without a major title, had a little more trouble advancing.
She held on for a 6-4, 7-5 win over Kirsten Flipkens of Belgium.
Jankovic needed a medical timeout for treatment on her right
foot in the first set and was broken three times in a
tougher-than-expected, 1-hour, 46-minute match.
Chardy matched the third-ranked Djokovic shot for shot before
wilting while trying to force a tiebreaker in the first set.
Djokovic, who ended Roger Federer's 19-match winning streak at
Melbourne Park in last year's semifinals, was dominating on his
serve against Chardy, faltering only when he was broken at love
while serving for the match.
But he broke right back, finishing it off when Chardy netted a
forehand on match point.
"Today I feel really happy with the way I played," Djokovic
said. "I played very well in the second and third sets."
Ivanovic lost the last Australian Open final to Maria Sharapova,
then won her first Grand Slam title at the French Open and gained
the No. 1 ranking.
Now seeded fifth, she is drawing inspiration from her last run
here. Sharapova is not defending the title because of a shoulder
"I was in this situation before French Open last year, coming
into the tournament as pretty serious finalist," she said. "That
experience will help me a lot to approach this Australian Open."
Dictating play and ripping winners into the corners, Ivanovic
repeatedly took advantage of Brianti's weak serve. The 28-year-old
Italian held serve only three times.
No. 169-ranked Brianti needed treatment for her lower back and
took a medical time out after getting broken to fall behind 3-0 in
the second set.
She returned to break Ivanovic's serve and held to pull back to
3-2, but lost the next three games. Ivanovic, pushing the limits
with her shots, had the same number of winners as unforced errors
She won 17 of her 27 net approaches, a sign she's growing in
confidence moving forward.
"I improved a lot since last match. I was committing much more,
coming to the net more often," she said, adding she still had
plenty to improve.
"When you come against top players or high-ranked players, you
automatically raise your level and your consistency. That's
something that I can do."
Another Serb, women's No. 1 Jelena Jankovic, was playing later
No. 3 Dinara Safina overcame 44 unforced errors in a 6-7 (3),
6-3, 6-0 win over fellow Russian Ekaterina Makarova and will next
play No. 25 Kaie Kanepi of Estonia.
Safina lost to a qualifier in the first round here last year,
but went on to be runner-up at the French Open, take the Olympic
silver medal and reach the U.S. Open semifinals.
No. 10 Nadia Petrova had a 6-3, 6-2 win over India's Sania
Mirza. No. 26 Ai Sugiyama of Japan defeated Nathalie Dechy of
France 1-6, 6-1, 6-3 and next faces Jankovic.
On the men's side, No. 11 David Ferrer of Spain had a 6-2, 6-2,
6-1 win over 31-year-old qualifier Dominik Hrbaty, who helped
Slovakia win the Hopman Cup title in Perth earlier this month.
Safina's brother, 2005 champion Marat Safin, set up a potential
third-round matchup with Federer, whom he beat en route to his
title here four years ago. Safin beat Guillermo Garcia-Lopez of
Spain 7-5, 6-2, 6-2.
Second-ranked Federer's quest to tie Pete Sampras' record 14th
Grand Slam title continued Wednesday in a second-round match
against Russian Evgeny Korolev.