Australian Open: Radwanska out, Serena stays on course

The American, chasing her 23rd major title, was in the zone to defeat Lucie Safarova 6-3, 6-4 on Rod Laver Arena,

Karolina Pliskova Czech Republic

Czech Republic's Karolina Pliskova reacts after beating Russia's Anna Blinkova during their women's singles second round match.   -  AFP

Third seed Radwanska stunned by Lucic-Baroni

Ageless Mirjana Lucic-Baroni turned back the clock to stun third seed Agnieszka Radwanska and send her packing from the Australian Open in round two on Thursday.

The Croat, 34, who won the Australian Open doubles title way back in 1998, was too good for the Pole, winning 6-3, 6-2 on Margaret Court Arena for one of her biggest career victories.

Serena on course

Powerhouse Serena Williams swept past Lucie Safarova and into the Australian Open third round on Thursday to keep her Grand Slam record hunt firmly on track.

Watch: >Serena storms past Safarova

The American, chasing her 23rd major title, was in the zone to win 6-3, 6-4 on Rod Laver Arena, just hours after fellow second seed Novak Djokovic was sensationally knocked out.

Pliskova continues to impress

Impressive fifth seed Karolina Pliskova continued her march through the Australian Open Thursday, storming into the third round with another straight-sets thrashing.

The towering Czech star dished out a 6-0, 6-2 lesson to hapless Russian qualifier Anna Blinkova and will next meet either 31st seed Yulia Putintseva or Jelena Ostapenko.


If she gets through that round, as form suggests she will, a potential quarterfinal against third seed Agnieszka Radwanska will be within her sights. Pliskova, who broke through last year in making the US Open final, losing to Angelique Kerber, has been keen to play down her chances at the opening Grand Slam of the year.

But winning the lead-up Brisbane International and two ominous victories at Melbourne Park so far suggest she is hot property.

Konta sets up Wozniacki clash

Johanna Konta set up a mouth-watering third-round clash against former world number one Caroline Wozniacki at the Australian Open Thursday, with both players looking in fine touch.

The British ninth seed, who made the semi-finals last year to kickstart a breakthrough season, doused the threat from promising 19-year-old Japanese Naomi Osaka 6-4, 6-2 on Rod Laver Arena.

Dane Wozniacki followed her on court and dismantled Croatia's Donna Vekic 6-1, 6-3, barely putting a foot wrong.

Both players are angling for a maiden Grand Slam title with the winner of their clash on Saturday potentially facing sixth seed Dominika Cibulkova in the fourth round and Serena Williams in the quarters.

Cibulkova progresses

Diminutive Dominika Cibulkova kept her Australian Open campaign on track Thursday as the sixth seed moved deeper into a tournament that has happy memories.

The 27-year-old Slovak, travelling under the radar despite winning the WTA Finals in October, saw off Taiwan's Hsieh Su-Wei on Margaret Court Arena 6-4, 7-6 (10/8), winning on her fifth match point.

It sets up a third-round clash against Russian 30th seed Ekaterina Makarova, who progressed after her opponent Sara Errani retired while losing 6-2, 3-2 with what appeared to be a leg injury.

If Cibulkova comes through that, dangerous ninth seed Johanna Konta or Caroline Wozniacki, a former world number one, could be next up.

Johanna Konta kept the British flag flying Thursday with a gritty win over fast-rising Japanese star Naomi Osaka to reach the Australian Open third round.

The ninth seed, a semi-finalist last year, successfully doused the threat from the promising 19-year-old 6-4, 6-2 on Rod Laver Arena.

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