Jelena Jankovic and Ana Ivanovic both produced mixed performances as they moved into the third round of the Australian Open with straight sets victories over Kirsten Flipkens and Alberta Brianti respectively.
Ivanovic struggled with her serve for large parts of her 6-3 6-2 win against Italian qualifier Alberta Brianti.
But coupled with her regular forays to the net and Brianti’s unforced errors she was able to negotiate her way to a third-round clash against Russian Alisa Kleybanova.
Ivanovic took a 3-1 lead in the first set only to hand her opponent a glimpse of hope when she double-faulted three times on the way to losing the fifth game.
But she responded well to break back for a 4-2 lead which quickly became 5-2 after a comfortable service game.
Brianti, ranked 169th in the world, was then taken to deuce eight times before a lucky net cord allowed her to hold serve and from there Ivanovic, last year’s runner-up, served out for the set.
The Serbian broke twice to take a 3-0 lead at the start of the second set but her momentum was halted when Brianti required a medical time-out for treatment to her back.
Ivanovic was broken in the next game and Brianti held serve to make it 3-2 before her Serbian opponent rattled off the last three games for the win.
Despite her patchy performance Ivanovic was upbeat after the match.
“I think I’ve improved a lot since my last match. I was committing much more, coming to the net more often and that’s something I was very pleased to see.”
Jankovic was also relieved to have made it through after being put under pressure by Flipkens in her 6-4 7-5 win.
The top seed, searching for her first grand slam title, needed one hour 46 minutes to see off the Belgian’s challenge.
Jankovic was forced to save eight break points in the second game of the match and did not get the breakthrough she was looking for until the ninth game.
But from there she held serve to claim the first set.
Flipkens, ranked 110 in the world, was clearly not overawed to be playing the world number one and got an early break in the second to take a 3-1 lead.
Jankovic then reeled off three games on the trot as her 23-year-old opponent required treatment on her back.
Although Flipkens drew level at 4-4 she failed to make the most of her opportunity and as her unforced error count rose, Jankovic was able to capitalise to seal the win.
“It was a tough match for me,” the Serbian admitted. “I thought that my opponent played really well. She had nothing to lose so she could go out there and really swing freely.
“I wasn’t really happy with my game and I’ll have to clean up my game a little bit and try to do the right things for my next match.”
The 23-year-old will meet Ai Sugiyama in the third round, following the Japanese woman’s 1-6 6-1 6-3 win against France’s Natalie Dechy.