Williams stays on track at Australian Open

Second-seeded Serena Williams was too good for Lucie Safarova, beating her in straight sets to advance to the third round of the Australian Open on Thursday.

The six-time Australian Open winner needed 78 minutes to defeat Safarova 6-3, 6-4 for her tenth win in as many meetings to set up a clash with American countryman Nicole Gibbs in the third round. 

In the opening game of the match, Safarova survived two break points to hold serve and then Williams saved two herself to hold serve.

The match proceeded with serve until the eighth game then the 35-year-old Williams upped the ante to break her 29-year-old opponent's serve then served out the opener claiming it on her first set point 6-3.

In the second set, like the first, there was only one break of serve and that fell to Williams in the seventh game to lead 4-3 after that the 22-time singles grand slam winner never looked back winning the set and match 6-4 on her third match-point.

After her victory, Serena said she was really happy to have got through to the next round.

"The last time we played was in the final of a Grand Slam… it wasn't easy. I'm really happy to have gotten through," said the 22-time grand slam winner, who is chasing the Open Era record in Melbourne. 

"I've played two former top ten players; it's a great way to start the tournament. I hope I'll keep having the support of you guys, it's really great."

In two other results, unseeded Maria Sakkari of Greece beat France’s 28th seed Alize Cornet 7-5, 4-6, 6-1 and Australian 22nd seed Daria Gavrilova battled past the unseeded Ana Konjuh of Croatia 6-2, 1-6, 6-4.

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