MELBOURNE, Australia — Serena Williams matched one of Margaret Court’s records at the Australian Open today as she advanced to the third round with a 6-1, 6-2 win over Vesna Dolonc.
Williams improved her record to 60-8 at Melbourne Park, equaling Court’s 60 match wins in the Open era at the Australian championship.
Court, who won seven of her 11 Australian titles before the Open era began in 1968, has a show court named in her honor adjacent to Rod Laver Arena.
Two fans held up a sign saying center court was “Serena’s Arena.”
Williams fended off the only break point she faced against the No. 104-ranked Dolonc with an ace in the sixth game of the second set.
Despite having trouble at times on her ball toss when she was looking into the sun, the 17-time major winner fired 10 aces, won 85 percent of points when she got her first serve in and hit 24 winners, sticking to the strategy for a hot day as she extended her winning streak to 24 matches.
“I just try to hit a bunch of aces and a bunch of winners — that’s all you can do because it’s too hot to get into long rallies,” she said. Temperatures reached 104 degrees during her match.
Novak Djokovic stayed on track today for a fourth consecutive Australian Open singles title with a 6-0, 6-4, 6-4 victory over Leonardo Mayer of Argentina.
Advancing to the third round with his 26th consecutive match win, Djokovic had a brief scare while serving at 3-0 in the first set when he turned over on his left ankle, tumbling to the court.
It wasn’t serious enough for him to warrant medical attention during the next break in play, and he took the opening set in 22 minutes, conceding just eight points.
Djokovic is attempting to win a fifth Australian title, the first man to achieve that feat since the Open Era began in 1968.
Fourth-seeded Li Na defeated 16-year-old Belinda Bencic 6-0, 7-6 (5).
On Tuesday, top-seeded Rafael Nadal advanced to the second round.
Nadal’s Australian opponent, Bernard Tomic, bothered from the start by a left leg injury, retired from the match after losing the first set 6-4. Some in the capacity crowd of 15,000 at Rod Laver Arena booed lustily when Tomic indicated he could not continue.
Roger Federer, Andy Murray and defending champion Victoria Azarenka advanced earlier Tuesday amid temperatures that topped 108 degrees.
Third-seeded Maria Sharapova joined them when she beat American Bethanie Mattek-Sands 6-3, 6-4 in the last match of the night. Mattek-Sands double-faulted on break point in the ninth game of the second set, and Sharapova served out.
Wimbledon champion Murray, on the comeback from minor back surgery in September, had a 6-1, 6-1, 6-3 win over Go Soeda of Japan, and No. 5 Juan Martin del Potro rallied for a 6-7 (1), 6-3, 6-4, 6-4 win over U.S. qualifier Rhyne Williams.
American Sloane Stephens, who beat Serena Williams in the quarterfinals here last year, defeated Yaroslava Shvedova 7-6 (1), 6-3, and 2004 U.S. Open champion Svetlana Kuznetsova, the 19th seed, was beaten 6-3, 6-3 by Elina Svitolina of Ukraine.
No. 5 Agnieszka Radwanzka, No. 8 Jelena Jankovic and No. 10 Caroline Wozniacki advanced.
No. 10 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, a 2008 Australian finalist, advanced along with No. 11 Milos Raonic.