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Williams, Azarenka into 4th round at Aussie Open

Published on NewsOK Modified: January 19, 2013 at 2:36 am •  Published: January 19, 2013
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MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — Serena Williams and Victoria Azarenka advanced in contrasting styles Saturday to the fourth round at the Australian Open.

Williams, the tournament favorite aiming for a third consecutive major title, recovered from a break down in the second set to win six straight games and finish off a 6-1, 6-3 win over Japan's Ayumi Morita in 66 minutes.

Azarenka, the top-ranked defending champion, struggled to hold off injured American Jamie Hampton 6-4, 4-6, 6-2 — and she didn't help herself with six double-faults.

At least she survived.

Juan Martin del Potro, the 2009 U.S. Open champion, lost a marathon match 6-3, 6-3, 6-7 (3), 3-6, 6-3 to Jeremy Chardy of France, leaving only three major winners in the men's draw.

Andy Murray, who joined the ranks of the Grand Slam winners at last year's U.S. Open, advanced with a gritty 6-3, 6-4, 7-5 win over Lithuanian qualifier Ricardas Berankis.

"I feel so much emotion. Five sets, to be here in a Grand Slam. It's the most beautiful match of my career," Chardy said. "It's a great moment for me, everyone dreams of this."

Second-ranked Roger Federer, who has four Australian titles among his record 17 majors, was playing Bernard Tomic later Saturday after No. 1 Novak Djokovic took another step toward his third consecutive Australian title with a third-round win Friday.

After taking del Potro out of the top section of the draw, Chardy will next face No. 21 Andreas Seppi of Italy, who ousted No. 12 Marin Cilic with a 6-7 (2), 6-3, 2-6, 6-4, 6-2 victory.

A pair of Frenchmen advanced and will meet in the fourth round, with No. 7 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga beating Slovenia's Blaz Kavcic 6-2, 6-1, 6-4 to set up a meeting with No. 9 Richard Gasquet, who fended off Croatia's Ivan Dodig 4-6, 6-3, 7-6 (2), 6-0.

Williams surprised herself with another serve at 128 mph in an afternoon match on Rod Laver Arena, matching a career best that she hit earlier in the tournament.

"I tried to hit it really hard. I hit 207 (kph) the other day and I thought it was luck," she said. "But I did it again and I was like, 'Whew! I'm going to try to go for 210.' We'll see."

Azarenka appeared frustrated at times, but overcame an early break and fended off triple break point in the seventh game of the deciding set before clinching the match in 2 hours, 9 minutes.

Hampton needed a medical timeout for a lower back problem before she served out the second set. She winced in pain and was frequently on the verge of tears throughout the third set, but still managed 41 winners to keep the Belarusian under pressure.

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