Australian Open: Big players Roger Federer, Serena Williams, Maria Sharapova progress to 3rd round

Biggies ensured that so far on Wednesday there is no big casualties.

Australian Open: Big players Roger Federer, Serena Williams, Maria Sharapova progress to 3rd round

Melbourne: World number three Roger Federer cruised into the Australian Open third round with a smooth, straight-sets win over Aleksandr Dolgopolov on Wednesday.

The 17-time Grand Slam champion was never in any trouble against the 35th-ranked Ukrainian and strolled to a regulation 6-3, 7-5, 6-1 win in one hour 33 minutes on Rod Laver Arena.

World No. 1 Novak Djokovic beat French promising talent Quentin Halys 6-1, 6-2, 7-6 (7-3).

Japanese hope Kei Nishikori came out on top of an awkward match with his American close friend and practice partner Austin Krajicek to reach the third round as well.

The seventh seed advanced but not before a second-set struggle, winning 6-3, 7-6 (7/5), 6-3 in one hour, 53 minutes on Margaret Court Arena with the roof closed after morning rain. 

Twice semi-finalist Tomas Berdych only lost seven games in reaching the third round. The Czech sixth seed was too strong for Bosnia`s Mirza Basic 6-4, 6-0, 6-3 in one hour 38 minutes and will face either Australian Nick Kyrgios or Pablo Cuevas of Uruguay next.

In the women's section, dominant world number one and defending champion Serena Williams powered into the Australian Open third round Wednesday with a straight-sets demolition of Taiwan`s Hsieh Su-wei.

The six-time Melbourne Park winner, who is gunning to equal Steffi Graf`s Open-era record of 22 Grand Slam titles, blitzed Hsieh 6-1, 6-2 on Rod Laver Arena.

She next faces either Russian Daria Kasatkina with a potential quarter-final clash against arch-rival Maria Sharapova awaiting. "She was definitely a tricky opponent but it was a good match for me to play someone like that. I needed that," said Williams, who made her Grand Slam debut in Melbourne in 1998.

"It all started here for me, that is where I played my first match in a Grand Slam, on this court, and I`m still going. It`s an honour."

Also five-time Grand Slam champion Maria Sharapova cruised into the Australian Open third round on Wednesday, sweeping past Aliaksandra Sasnovich with the loss of just three games.

The on-song Russian, 28, shook off any early-season rust off in the opening round and she continued her impressive form against Sasnovich, crushing the 105th ranked Belarusian 6-2, 6-1 with the roof shut on Rod Laver Arena as rain came down.

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