Heat is off as Federer, Mauresmo cruise into third round

ROGER FEDERER stepped up a gear on day three of the Australian Open to sweep past Jonas Bjorkman in straight sets.

In mild conditions after yetat Melbourne Park, the world number one breezed through to the third round with a 6-2 6-3 6-2 win in just over 90 minutes.

The dream is over for last year’s surprise finalist Marcos Baghdatis, the 11th seed, beaten 7-6 (7/5) 6-2 2-6 6-0 by Frenchman Gael Monfils in the late match in the Rod Laver Arena.

Marat Safin, the 2005 winner, survived another five-set thriller, this time against young Israeli Dudi Sela.

Despite trailing two sets to one, Safin finally rediscovered his winning touch and Sela, hindered by a 15-minute rain delay, could do nothing as the towering Russian sealed the win 6-3 5-7 4-6 7-6 (7/4) 6-0.

Safin will play sixth-seed Andy Roddick, last week’s AAMI Classic champion at Kooyong, who sealed a crushing 6-3 7-6 (7/4) 6-4 victory over Frenchman Marc Gicquel.

The American showed no signs of the wobbly first-round performance which saw him taken to four sets by the Joe-Wilfried Tsonga.

Also in action early on the third day was Serbian 14th-seed Novak Djokovic, who quickly outshone Spaniard Feliciano Lopez.

After taking the first set 6-2, Djokovic was tested slightly more in the second but prevailed 7-5, before sealing the match 6-1.

Former champion Thomas Johans-son capped off a disappointing day for Sweden when he was bundled out by Heineken Open winner David Ferrer.

Maintaining his recent form, the Spaniard overcame the unseeded Johansson 6-2 6-7 (5/7) 6-2 6-2.

Elsewhere, Frenchman Richard Gasquet extended his longest run at Melbourne Park with a 6-1 6-2 6-4 drubbing of American Amer Delic.

Mardy Fish, who upset fourth-seed Ivan Ljubicic on day one, also continued his stellar run with a four-set victory over Nicolas Mahut.

In the women’s competition, defending champion Amelie Mauresmo and in-form Serb Jelena Jankovic stormed into the third round after two impressive performances.

Playing her night match under the roof of the Rod Laver Arena owing to intermittent showers, Mauresmo quickly exerted her dominance on unseeded Russian Olga Poutchkova.

The second seed needed just 37 minutes to wrap up the first set 6-2 and, showing all the class that guided her to two Grand Slam victories in 2006, the powerful Frenchwoman ended proceedings 35 minutes later by the same scoreline in the second set.

Mauresmo, who believes her performance was a marked improve-ment on her first-round victory, will meet Eva Birnerova after the Czech disposed of German Julia Schruff in three sets.

Earlier in the day, highly-rated Jankovic signalled her title aspirations with another textbook performance.

Squaring off against Spaniard Virginia Ruano Pascual in more mild Melbourne conditions, the in-form 11th seed took little more than an hour to wrap things up 6-2 6-2.

Also in stunning form was Russian fifth-seed Nadia Petrova, who took less than an hour to close out her match with Argentine Gisela Dulko.

After making the quarter-finals last year, Petrova looks in solid touch again and dispatched her opponent 6-1 6-2.

Serena Williams, fresh from her first-round win over Italian Mara Santangelo, was in sound form as she marched to a 7-6 (7-4) 6-2 win over Luxembourg’s Anne Kremer.

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