|Ana Ivanovic controls a ball with her knee during her 6-3, 6-2 victory over Italy's Alberta Brianti today in Melbourne. (Russell Boyce/Reuters)|
Serbs serve up plenty of notice
MELBOURNE - Ana Ivanovic and Novak Djokovic cruised into the third round of the Australian Open today, with both 21-year-old Serbs looking as if they could make another memorable run in the season's first major.
Ivanovic beat Italian Alberta Brianti, 6-3, 6-2, at Rod Laver Arena, and defending men's champion Djokovic followed with a 7-5, 6-1, 6-3 win over Frenchman Jeremy Chardy.
Top-ranked Jelena Jankovic, the only one of the emerging Serbian trio without a major title, had a little more trouble advancing. She held on for a 6-4, 7-5 win over Kirsten Flipkens of Belgium.
Jankovic needed a medical timeout for treatment on her right foot in the first set and was broken three times in a tougher-than-expected 1-hour 46-minute match.
Also, second-ranked Roger Federer reached the third round of the Open, where he is trying to equal Pete Sampras's record of 14 Grand Slam titles.
Federer was dominating in a 6-2, 6-3, 6-1 victory over No. 118 Evgeny Korolev, a Russian who has never made it past the second round in a major. It took just 86 minutes.
Affected by mononucleosis, Federer lost in the semifinals at Melbourne last year. He looks to be in top form now and next plays Marat Safin, the Russian who beat him in the semifinals en route to the 2005 Australian championship.
Chardy matched the third-ranked Djokovic shot for shot before wilting while trying to force a tiebreaker in the first set.
Djokovic, who ended Federer's 19-match winning streak at Melbourne Park in last year's semis, was dominating on his serve against Chardy, faltering only when he was broken at love while serving for the match.
But he broke right back, finishing it off when Chardy netted a forehand on match point.
"I feel really happy with the way I played," Djokovic said. "I played very well in the second and third sets."
Ivanovic lost the last Australian Open final to Maria Sharapova, then won her first Grand Slam title at the French Open and gained the No. 1 ranking.
Now seeded fifth, she is drawing inspiration from her last run here. Sharapova is not defending the title because of a shoulder injury.
"I was in this situation before French Open last year, coming into the tournament as a pretty serious finalist," she said. "That experience will help me a lot to approach this Australian Open."
Dictating play and ripping winners into the corners, Ivanovic repeatedly took advantage of Brianti's weak serve. The 28-year-old Italian held serve only three times.
No. 169-ranked Brianti needed treatment for her lower back and took a medical timeout after getting broken to fall behind, 3-0, in the second set.
She returned to break Ivanovic's serve and held to pull back to 3-2, but lost the next three games. Ivanovic, pushing the limits with her shots, had the same number of winners as unforced errors (26). She won 17 of her 27 net approaches.