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Venus joins Serena in second round

MELBOURNE, Australia — Venus Williams joined her sister Serena in the second round of the Australian Open as he saw off a spirited challenge from China’s Zi Yan in a night match at Melbourne Park on Tuesday.

Wimbledon champion Venus won 6-2 7-5 but was made to battle in the second set after falling an early break behind to Yan who is one of a number of players from China making their impression on women’s tennis.

The eighth-seeded Williams, who lost in the first round at Melbourne Park in 2006, was often erratic and gave Yan two break points with a pair of double-faults in the first set, then virtually handed the doubles specialist an early break in the second with a string of unforced errors.

Williams, forced to run from side to side, finished with 29 unforced errors and only 19 winners, but Yan lacked the offensive power to really trouble the American.

Williams won five consecutive games after trailing 0-2 in the second set. Serving for the match at 5-3, she double-faulted twice while getting broken at love.

But Williams joined defending champion Serena in the second round, for a clash with France’s Camille Pin, when she broke for the match as Yan netted a string of groundstrokes.

I felt good out there, Williams said. Had a lot of fun. Got to hit a lot of balls, which I felt was good. She definitely made me play some balls that I wasn’t expecting to come back.

Earlier, second seed Svetlana Kuznetsova made a confident start to her campaign with a straight-sets demolition of Nathalie Dechy.

The 22-year-old Russian saw off her French opponent 6-3 6-1 in the Rod Laver Arena, while Serbia’s Ana Ivanovic, Kuznetsova’s potential opponent in the semis, was less impressive but still advanced after seeing off Romania’s Sorana Cirstea 7-5 6-3.

Other seeded players in the bottom half, Anna Chakvetadze, Daniela Hantuchova, Nadia Petrova, Alona Bondarenko, Maria Kirilenko, Katarina Srebotnik, Agnieszka Radwanska and Sania Mirza also made it into the final 64.

But 2007 Wimbledon runner-up Marion Bartoli lost 6-7 6-4 6-3 to Sweden’s Sofia Arvidsson.

France’s Bartoli, the tenth seed, was the last player to beat world number one and title favorite Justine Henin who progressed to the second round on Monday.

Other seeds departing were Russian 16th seed Dinara Safina who was ousted by German Sabine Lisicki and 22nd seed Lucie Safarova was upset by Colombian Catalina Castano.

Hungarian Agnes Szavay, the 20th seed, went out in three sets to Ekaterina Makarova. E-mail to a friend

Venus joins Serena in second round – found here.

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January 15, 2008 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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