Quickfire Azarenka races into fourth round

Melbourne: Victoria Azarenka raced into the fourth round of the Australian Open with a 6-2, 6-4 victory over Mona Barthel on Friday.

The in-form third seed, who came through a strong field to win the title at last week`s Sydney warm-up tournament, was at least stretched more than in the first two rounds, where she recorded 6-1, 6-0 wins.

The rangy Barthel, who won a warm-up event in Hobart as a qualifier and was making her debut at Melbourne Park, had enough power and accuracy in her groundstrokes to test the Belarussian but failed to capitalise on three break points.

The 21-year-old resisted to the end and Azarenka fumed over some line calls in the final game before securing a fourth round meeting with Czech Iveta Benesova on her fifth match point when her opponent netted a volley.

Bureau Report

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