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TENNIS

Serena Williams advances in Australian Open

She easily defeats Peng Shuai of China in third-round match.

January 24, 2009|associated press

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA — Serena Williams didn't have to deal with any unexpected distractions today, advancing to the fourth round at the Australian Open.

Williams, who won the title here in 2003, 2005 and 2007, started play on Rod Laver Arena with a 6-1, 6-4 victory over No. 41-ranked Peng Shuai of China.

The second-seeded Williams, who had a streaker run on the court during her doubles victory Friday, won the last six games of the first set without much trouble, but was broken twice in the second.

Williams next faces No. 13 Victoria Azarenka of Belarus, who ousted 2006 Australian Open and Wimbledon champion Amelie Mauresmo, 6-4, 6-2.

Ana Ivanovic's hopes of a return trip to the final fell apart in a 7-5, 6-7 (5), 6-2 loss to 19- year-old Alisa Kleybanova of Russia.

The fifth-ranked Ivanovic lost her serve nine times and finished with 50 unforced errors to only 23 winners.

On Friday, ethnic violence flared after Novak Djokovic of Serbia beat Bosnian-born American Amer Delic, leaving a woman injured, three men charged with riotous behavior, 30 people ejected by police and broken chairs scattered over the lawn area at Melbourne Park.

The afternoon violence also overshadowed the night match between second-ranked Roger Federer and former No. 1 Marat Safin. The Swiss star won, 6-3, 6-2, 7-6 (5).

On the men's side today, Gael Monfils, a French Open semifinalist last year, had a 6-4, 6-3, 7-5 win over No. 17 Nicolas Almagro and No. 6 Gilles Simon beat No. 19 Mario Ancic, 7-6 (2), 6-4, 6-2.

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