|Serena Williams is pumped up after a point. (PAUL CROCK/AFP/Getty Images)|
Serena moves ahead
It's easy does it for steady Nadal
MELBOURNE - Serena Williams ignored pain and frustration to reach the third round of the Australian Open with a straight-sets win over Gisela Dulko today.
The second-seeded Williams's 6-3, 7-5 victory was far from routine, unlike Rafael Nadal's 6-2, 6-3, 6-2 win over Roko Karanusic.
Williams, hoping to extend a sequence of winning the Australian title every alternate year since 2003, had to fend off six set points in the ninth game of the second set to prevent the match from going to a third. That game went to a dozen deuces before Williams broke to get back on serve.
She got treatment on her left ankle in the changeover and, grimacing with pain, held, then broke Dulko again - this game going to deuce a half-dozen times - to get her chance to serve it out.
After all that, the nine-time Grand Slam winner finished with an ace on her first match point, advancing in 1 hour 50 minutes.
"It was a very tough second set; she started playing unbelievable, hitting winners left and right," Williams said. "She had a couple of opportunities but I always felt I wasn't going to lose. I feel I could play a lot better."
Williams converted only four of her 18 break chances against the 23-year-old Argentine. Dulko was successful on both of hers.
Nadal had an easier time in his second-round match against Karanusic, fending off the bearded Croat's six break-point chances and converting on six of the seven opportunities he had.
The 22-year-old Spaniard will next play German veteran Tommy Haas, who beat Flavio Cipolla, 6-1, 6-2, 6-1.
No. 6 Gilles Simon of France won the opening match on center court, beating Chris Guccione, 6-7 (5-7), 6-4, 6-1, 6-2. No. 13 Fernando Gonzalez, the 2007 runner-up, also moved on with a 7-5, 6-3, 6-4 victory over Guillermo Canas.
No. 17 Nicolas Almagro, No. 24 Richard Gasquet, and No. 31 Jurgen Melzer also went through. Dudi Sela was the first Israeli man to make the third round of a major since 1994 when he beat Victor Hanescu, 6-3, 6-3, 6-2.
On the women's side, Olympic champion Elena Dementieva improved her 2009 winning streak to 12 matches with 6-4, 6-1 win over Iveta Benesova.
The 27-year-old Dementieva reached the French Open and US Open finals in 2004, beaten both times by fellow Russians, and has not returned to the championship of a Grand Slam event since.
Amelie Mauresmo rallied for a 4-6, 6-3, 6-2 win over Elena Baltacha.
Virginie Razzano ousted No. 14 Patty Schnyder, 6-3, 6-1. Other women advancing included No. 12 Flavia Pennetta, No. 13 Victoria Azarenka, No. 18 Dominika Cibulkova, No. 21 Anabel Medina Garrigues, and No. 22 Zheng Jie.