• Australian Open

Wozniacki crashes out as Serena survives

ESPN staff
January 22, 2015
Caroline Wozniacki lost in straight sets to Victoria Azarenka © Getty Images

Caroline Wozniacki suffered a second-round exit at the Australian Open after a straight-sets defeat to Victoria Azarenka.

Two-time winner Azarenka, who is unseeded for the tournament after her injury struggles in 2014 saw her ranking drop to No.41, won 6-4 6-2 in one hour and 38 minutes.

"I just need to go back and work hard," said Wozniacki, the No.8 seed, who reached the final of the US Open. "It's early, still the beginning of the year. So I still have 10 months to make up for this. Hopefully it's still going to be a good year.

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"Obviously she [Azarenka] feels great here. I think it's a curse I've gotten here. I've made semis, then quarters, then fourth round, then third round, this year second round. It's kind of gone that way the last few years.

"Hopefully I'm going to break that next year and start going the other way. I love this tournament and I'm so sad to be out already. Obviously it was a tough draw for both of us. But she came out on top and played better.

"It doesn't feel fun to be here right now. I would rather completely suck and play terrible and win than play wonderfully and lose. I'm a competitor. It hurts to lose. But it definitely feels much harder to lose this early as well.

"She's won here twice. It doesn't happen by accident. I knew she was going to go out there and play aggressive, do her thing. I knew she was going to be consistent because that's what she's known for."

Wozniacki also revealed that she and Azarenka have lockers right next to each other in Melbourne and had spoken about their match in the build-up.

Azarenka is unseeded for the tournament © Getty Images

"It's kind of tricky. You have to play against somebody, but she's still your friend," said Azarenka, who next faces Barbora Zahlavova-Strycova in the third round.

"So I think when you are on the court you kind of have to forget about it. But we'll have some fun after this tournament, so ... No worries."

Serena Williams fended off set points before winning 10 games on the bounce to beat Vera Zvonareva as she moved into the third round.

The top seed, looking for a sixth Australian Open crown and 19th grand slam title, saved three set points in the ninth game before holding to swing the momentum of her match against Zvonareva, a two-time grand slam finalist.

She went on to bagel her opponent in the second set for a 7-5 6-0 victory, and will be joined in the next round by her sister Venus Williams, after she beat fellow American Lauren Davis in straight sets.

Serena said she told herself: "You know Serena, you've done so well here, you have nothing to lose."

"Things really clicked. I had no other option but for things to click," she added. "Yeah, I just had to start playing better.

"Playing Vera is like, I had to get my mind like, 'Serena, this girl has been ranked as high as No.2 in the world. She's been on the tour and she's a very quality player, she knows what to do. She knows how to win'. I had to kind of snap into that."

After breaking Williams' serve twice in the first set, Zvonareva won only eight points in the second set and didn't get close to another break-point chance.

Williams next will play Elina Svitolina, who beat Nicole Gibbs 7-6(3) 7-6(6).

Venus secured a 6-2 6-3 win against Davis. The elder of the Williams sisters, a seven-time grand slam winner, hasn't been beyond the third round at a major since reaching the fourth round at Wimbledon in 2011.

Meanwhile, Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova eased past Mona Barthel 6-2 6-4 to set up a third-round match against Madison Keys, who rallied to beat Casey Dellacqua 2-6 6-1 6-1.

Elsewhere, sixth seed Agnieszka Radwanska needed only 44 minutes to race through her 6-0 6-1 win over Johanna Larsson, continuing her run of reaching the third round or better at every Australian Open since 2010. In the next round, she will face Varvara Lepchenko, who sealed a 6-1 7-6(1) win over Ajla Tomljanovic.

In other results, Dominika Cibulkova, the 2014 finalist, beat Tsvetana Pironkova 6-2 6-0 while Garbine Muguruza defeated veteran Daniela Hantuchova 6-1 1-6 6-0.

Serena Williams beat Vera Zvonareva 7-5 6-0 © Getty Images
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