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Published: Thursday January 17, 2013 MYT 10:16:00 AM
Updated: Thursday January 17, 2013 MYT 2:32:27 PM

Top seed Azarenka races into Open third round

MELBOURNE: Defending champion Victoria Azarenka romped into the Australian Open third round Thursday with a comprehensive straight-sets thrashing of Greek Eleni Daniilidou.

The world number one Belarusian lost just one game in the 6-1, 6-0 demolition and will next play either American Jamie Hampton or Thai qualifier Luksika Kumkhum.

The victory keeps top-seeded Azarenka on course to meet former world number one Caroline Wozniacki in the quarter-finals as she defends her first Grand Slam title.

Azarenka had only played the Greek once before, five years ago, and lost, but on a scorching hot day on Rod Laver Arena she opened her account with a serve to love then comfortably held, with the signs ominous for Daniilidou.

The Belarusian easily broke again then held for 4-0, with the Greek till then having won just three points in the entire match.

Azarenka's key rivals, Maria Sharapova and Serena Williams, have both scored double bagel whitewashes here and Azarenka looked intent on producing her own until Daniilidou finally won a game for 5-1, to big cheers.

But it was only a hiccup for Azarenka, and with her renowned grunting growing in volume and shouts of "c'mon" becoming more regular, the pumped-up top seed raced through the second set in 31 minutes.

While Azarenka is the world's top-ranked player, Sharapova and Williams are breathing down her neck and she needs to reach the final to have any chance of remaining number one. -AFP

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