In scorching heat, top seeds make cool progress
With the sun setting at the end of a torridly hot day at the Australian Open, Roger Federer ensured he made the most of a favorable evening draw. Wearing bright pink shoelaces, Federer advanced to the third round with a 6-3, 6-4, 6-4 win over Russian Nikolay Davydenko on Thursday.
The 17-Grand Slam champion was a winner of sorts before he even stepped out at Rod Laver Arena, having received the luck of the draw — a 7 p.m. start time after the worst of the 41-degree Celsius heat had subsided.
Other championship contenders in the men's and women's draws, including Andy Murray, Serena Williams and defending champion Victoria Azarenka, had to withstand the high temperatures.
A dancing Azarenka and an ankle-weary Williams played back-to-back matches, both easy straight-set victories. US Open champion Murray also won routinely, beating Joao Sousa of Portugal 6-2, 6-2, 6-4 on Hisense Arena, the second show court at Melbourne Park.
Williams went into Thursday's match with an injured right ankle. She didn't seem troubled by the injury, but did finish with a swollen lip after hitting herself with her racket. Williams lifted her tempo on the biggest points, including when she finally won an 18-minute game to open the second set en route to a 6-2, 6-0 win over Garbine Muguruza. She later combined with sister Venus to win in the first round of doubles.
The top-ranked Azarenka pranced into Rod Laver Arena for the first match of the day, and said she's starting to find some rhythm after beating Eleni Daniilidou 6-1, 6-0 in 55 minutes.
The heat didn't seem to bother 42-year-old Kimiko Date-Krumm, who advanced 6-2, 7-5 over Shahar Peer of Israel. She's the oldest woman to win a singles match at the Australian Open. Other women advancing included former No. 1-ranked Caroline Wozniacki, No. 14 Maria Kirilenko, No. 16 Roberta Vinci, No. 20 Yanina Wickmayer and Elena Vesnina. Former US Open champion Svetlana Kuznetsova beat 26th-seeded Hsieh Su-wei of Taiwan 6-2, 6-1.