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Williams in ominous form

Defending champion Serena Williams swept into the Australian Open third round with a 6-2 6-1 win over unseeded teenager Petra Kvitova in little over an hour and then claimed: “I could have played a lot better.”

It was a wholly dominant display from the world number one, who dropped just three points on her first serve while winning more than half of the points on Kvitova's service.

Williams is chasing a fifth title at Melbourne Park and ominously for her rivals said afterwards she was already nearing peak form and fitness.

“I thought today was a little bit better than my match in my first round,” said Williams, who had come into the tournament under a fitness cloud after limping through her defeat against Elena Dementieva in the final at Sydney last week.

“I felt like I was moving better and I had better energy. I just felt all around a lot better.

“I don't think I'm that far (from full fitness) and I felt like I could have actually played a lot better today.”

Williams will next play 32nd seed Carla Suarez Navarro, who beat Germany's Andrea Petkovic 6-1 6-4.

Sixth seed Venus Williams, who is chasing her first Australian Open title at the age of 29, claimed her second consecutive straight-sets win as she was similarly untroubled by Sybille Bammer 6-2 7-5.

It was the second left-hander Williams has played and she will meet another in the last 32 after unseeded Australian Casey Dellacqua defeated Karolina Sprem 7-6 (7/4) 7-6 (8/6).

Former world number one Ana Ivanovic continued her disappointing grand slam form since winning the 2008 French Open as she was bundled out by 36th-ranked Gisela Dulko 6-7 (6/8) 7-5 6-4.

It is the seventh major in succession the Serbian has failed to get past the fourth round and she admitted her growing frustration at the early exits.

“It hurts, I must say,” she said.

“I think I just have to be patient. It will take some time. I do feel better on the court. I feel like my old self.

“There are still some areas that are not there for me to rely on when I need them the most. Some matches it's there, some not.”

Fourth seed Caroline Wozniacki played for the second consecutive day but showed no ill-effects with a trouble-free 6-3 6-1 win over Germany's Julia Goerges.

Belarus' Victoria Azarenka reached the third round of a grand slam for the 11th consecutive occasion with a simple 6-4 6-0 victory over Stefanie Voegele.

Belfast Telegraph