• Australian Open

Williams comfortably wins, Lisicki crashes out

ESPN staff
January 15, 2014
Serena Williams battled the heat to progress © Getty Images

Serena Williams continued her quest for a first Australian Open crown since 2010 with a 6-1 6-2 victory over Vesna Dolonc, but Wimbledon finalist Sabine Lisicki was stunned by Monica Niculescu.

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Williams, who recorded the strongest season of her career in 2013 with 11 WTA titles, including grand slam triumphs at the French and US Opens, was not troubled by her Serbian opponent, and the world No. 1 wrapped up the win in three minutes past the hour mark.

"I was happy just to get that win under my belt and have a chance to go at the next round," Williams said. "I'm still excited to just be here, to be playing in front of this crowd. I'm just happy to still be alive.

"I have so many matches I have to win in order to do well and in order to lift the trophy. It's such a long way. I'll just have to play one match at a time."

Last year's Wimbledon finalist Lisicki, who knocked Williams out en route to the final at SW19, suffered a 2-6 6-2 6-2 loss to Niculescu.

Lisicki powered her way to the opening set in 33 minutes, hitting a total of 18 winners past her opponent, but Niculescu fought back to shock the 15th seed.

Former French Open champion Li Na defeated Belinda Bencic 6-0 7-6(5), while Angelique Kerber, who has yet to progress beyond the fourth round at the Australian Open, beat Alla Kudryavtseva 6-4 6-2.

Home favourite Sam Stosur is through to the next round following a 6-2 6-0 win over Tsvetlana Pironkova, and will take on Ana Ivanovic after the former French Open champion and world No. 1 beat Annika Beck 6-1 6-2.

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