Kvitova, Sharapova, Serena advance

Maria Sharapova hits a return to Jamie Hampton during their women's singles match at the Australian...

Maria Sharapova hits a return to Jamie Hampton during their women's singles match at the Australian Open in Melbourne on Thursday, Jan. 19, 2012. (REUTERS/Tim Wimborne)

SPORTS NETWORK

, Last Updated: 10:30 AM ET

MELBOURNE - Second-seeded Petra Kvitova and former Australian Open champions and former world No. 1s Maria Sharapova and Serena Williams posted second-round wins Thursday at the Australian Open.

The Wimbledon and WTA Championships titlist Kvitova advanced, but only after withstanding a test from Spaniard Carla Suarez Navarro. The Czech left- hander lost the second set and was down 2-0 in the third before pulling out a hard-fought 6-2, 2-6, 6-4 victory at Melbourne Park.

Kvitova, who will battle Russian Maria Kirilenko on Saturday, advanced despite piling up 48 unforced errors on Day 4.

"In the beginning it was OK, but I made many, many, many mistakes," Kvitova said. "It's part of my game but it's too many. It was very tough to get back in the third set."

Meanwhile, the fourth-seeded three-time major champion Sharapova, who captured her lone Aussie Open title in 2008, won her second straight match by a lopsided 6-0, 6-1 score, this time by besting American Jamie Hampton in just 64 minutes.

Sharapova did not play in any of the Aussie Open tuneup events the last two weeks.

"It was more about getting my feet going," Sharapova said. "Yeah, started my preparations in the offseason a little late, took a bit of extra time in practice instead of rushing into a tournament."

Up next for the Russian bomber will be German Angelique Kerber.

Williams, seeded 12th and seeking a sixth Aussie Open title, cruised in a 6-0, 6-4 defeat of Czech Barbora Zahlavova Strycova at Laver Arena for her 500th career WTA victory.

The powerful Williams' older sister Venus has also captured 500 wins on the circuit (589-147).

"I knew I had to get there too, because I do everything she does," Williams said of her seven-time Grand Slam champion sister. "It's great, it's like the ultimate."

Serena pulled out of an event in Brisbane two weeks ago due to an ankle injury.

"It's totally fine. It was my good ankle, so I'm good," she said.

The 13-time Grand Slam champion Williams has won her last 16 matches in Melbourne, having titled back-to-back in 2009 and 2010 before missing last year's Aussie because of health issues.

Williams will face Hungarian Greta Arn on Saturday.

Seventh-seeded former Wimbledon and U.S. Open runner-up Vera Zvonareva was also a straight-set winner in second-round action, downing Czech Lucie Hradecka 6-1, 7-6 (7-3), while ninth-seeded former Wimbledon runner-up Marion Bartoli of France leveled long-time Aussie favourite Jelena Dokic 6-3, 6-2.

Zvonareva will play fellow Russian Ekaterina Makarova, while Bartoli will face Chinese Zheng Jie in the round of 32.

Fourteenth-seeded German Sabine Lisicki whipped Israeli Shahar Peer 6-1, 6-2, while Arn outlasted 17th-seeded Slovak Dominika Cibulkova 6-2, 3-6, 10-8, and 18th-seeded two-time Grand Slam champion Svetlana Kuznetsova snuck past promising American Sloane Stephens 7-6 (8-6), 7-5. Lisicki will meet the former top-five Russian star Kuznetsova in the third round.

Some other seeds to advance were No. 21 and former Aussie Open runner-up Ana Ivanovic, who handled Dutchwoman Michaella Krajicek 6-2, 6-3, a No. 27 Kirilenko, who held off Canadian Aleksandra Wozniak 6-4, 1-6, 6-2, and a No. 30 Kerber, a 7-5, 6-1 winner over Canadian Stephanie Dubois. The Serbian Ivanovic, a former French Open champ, will meet American Vania King in her next outing.

Some seeds bowed out here on Thursday, as King took out No. 15 Russian Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 5-7, 6-3, 6-4; Zheng defeated No. 23 Italian Roberta Vinci 6-4, 6-2; Makarova ousted No. 25 Estonian Kaia Kanepi 6-2, 7-5; and Italian Sara Errani eliminated No. 29 Russian Nadia Petrova 6-2, 6-2.

Also advancing on Day 4 was Romanian Sorana Cirstea, who survived Pole Urszula Radwanska, 1-6, 6-2, 6-3. Cirstea stunned U.S. Open champion and heavy Aussie favourite Sam Stosur on Tuesday.

The third round will commence Friday, including matches for world No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki, third-seeded Victoria Azarenka, fifth-seeded French Open champion and 2011 Aussie Open runner-up Li Na, and 11th-seeded former No. 1 and reigning Aussie titlist Kim Clijsters. The former U.S. Open runner-up Wozniacki will take on 31st-seeded Romanian Monica Niculescu; Azarenka will battle surging German Mona Barthel, who captured her first-ever WTA title in Hobart last week; Li will meet 26th-seeded Spaniard Anabel Medina Garrigues; and the four-time major champion Clijsters will be opposed by 20th-seeded Slovak Daniela Hantuchova.

Clijsters topped Li in last year's Melbourne finale.

Also on Friday, eighth-seeded Pole Agnieszka Radwanska and 13th-seeded former No. 1 Jelena Jankovic will take to the courts. The former U.S. Open runner-up Jankovic will battle rising American teenager Christina McHale.


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