|Caroline Wozniacki hits a return to Anna Tatishvili during their women's singles match at the Australian Open in Melbourne on Wednesday, Jan. 18, 2012. (REUTERS/Daniel Munoz)
MELBOURNE - World No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki, reigning champion and former top-ranked star Kim Clijsters and last year's runner-up Li Na were a trio of straight-sets winners Wednesday in second- round action at the Australian Open.
Wozniacki, still seeking that elusive first-ever Grand Slam title, fought off a set point in the second stanza before prevailing 6-1, 7-6 (7-4) over Georgian Anna Tatishvili at Melbourne Park's Hisense Arena.
Up next for the popular Danish star will be Romanian Monica Niculescu.
The 11th-seeded Clijsters, meanwhile, breezed past Stephanie Foretz Gacon of France 6-0, 6-1 in a mere 47 minutes, while the fifth-seeded Li earned an easy 6-2, 6-2 victory over Aussie Olivia Rogowska.
A potential rematch of last year's Aussie final could come in the fourth round if Clijsters can win her third-round match against 20th-seeded Slovak Daniela Hantuchova, who outlasted Ukrainian Lesia Tsurenko 4-6, 6-4, 6-3, and Li can top 26th-seeded Spaniard Anabel Medina Garrigues, an easy 6-1, 6-0 winner over Belarusian Olga Govortsova on Day 3 of this fortnight.
The four-time Grand Slam champion Clijsters said she doesn't worry about who she could face later on in a tournament.
"That's something that I definitely learned since I was younger -- the media people always start to talk about the future, quarterfinal, semifinal, a tough third, fourth round coming up before the tournament even starts," she said. "I don't like to waste my energy on those kind of thoughts."
In other action involving top-eight seeds, No. 3 Victoria Azarenka of Belarus blitzed helpless Aussie Casey Dellacqua 6-1, 6-0 in 57 minutes and No. 8 Pole Agnieszka Radwanska leveled little-known Argentine Paula Ormaechea 6-3, 6-1.
Azarenka will meet hot German Mona Barthel on Friday.
Meanwhile, 10th-seeded 2010 French Open champion and 2011 Roland Garros runner-up Francesca Schiavone was stunned by fellow Italian Romina Oprandi 6-4, 6-3; 13th-seeded former No. 1 Jelena Jankovic of Serbia defeated Taipei's Kai-Chen Chang 6-4, 6-2; and veteran Czech lefty Iveta Benesova upended No. 16 seed Peng Shuai of China 6-2, 6-4.
Twenty-second seed Julia Goerges of Germany advanced when Greek Eleni Daniilidou retired in the second set, with the former leading 6-2, 2-0, while a 31st-seeded Niculescu overcame France's Pauline Parmentier 4-6, 6-4, 6-1, and Barthel bounced 32nd-seeded Czech Petra Cetkovska 7-5, 6-3. Barthel captured her first-ever WTA title in Hobart last week.
Rising American teenager Christina McHale reached the round of 32 with a 3-6, 7-6 (7-4), 6-3 victory over New Zealand's Marina Erakovic. She's rewarded with a third-rounder against the former U.S. Open runner-up Jankovic.
Also advancing Wednesday were Russian Nina Bratchikova and Kazakhstan's Galina Voskoboeva.
The second round will wrap up on Thursday, including matches for second-seeded Wimbledon champ Petra Kvitova, fourth-seeded former Aussie winner Maria Sharapova and five-time Melbourne titlist Serena Williams.
The powerful lefty Kvitova will be opposed by Spaniard Carla Suarez Navarro, while the former world No. 1, three-time major champion and 2011 Wimbledon runner-up Sharapova will encounter American Jamie Hampton, and the 12th-seeded former top-ranked star Williams will play Czech Barbora Zahlavova Strycova.
The 13-time Grand Slam champion Williams has won her last 15 matches in Melbourne, having titled here back-to-back in 2009 and 2010 before missing last year's Aussie extravaganza because of health issues.
Also on Thursday's schedule will be seventh-seeded former Wimbledon and U.S. Open runner-up Vera Zvonareva, ninth-seeded former Wimbledon finalist Marion Bartoli, 18th-seeded two-time major champion Svetlana Kuznetsova, and 21st- seeded former No. 1 and former Aussie Open runner-up Ana Ivanovic. The former top-five star Kuznetsova will take on promising American Sloane Stephens.