Elena Dementieva stretched her winning run to 12 matches as she booked her place in the third round of the Australian Open with a 6-4 6-1 win against Iveta Benesova.
Dementieva arrived in Melbourne in a rich vein of form after tournament victories in Auckland and Sydney and once she hit her stride her Czech opponent was no match for her.
The fourth seeded Russian started slowly wasting three break point chances at 2-1 up. But once she cut down on the unforced errors she was able to assert herself to take a 5-3 lead.
Her fifth double fault of the match allowed Benesova to reduce the lead to 5-4, however the Czech failed to capitalise on that as Dementieva broke back immediately to take the set.
The Russian was in total control in the second set, racing to a 5-1 lead as she fired 11 winners and two aces past the world number 35, closing out the match in 1 hour 12 minutes.
The world number four, is delighted with her start to 2009.
“It is a good feeling, you know. I feel like I’ve had a very good start to the year. Right now is the most important moment, coming here to play the Australian Open. I just hope to play well here.”
Her opponent in the next round will be Australian Samantha Stosur, who beat Sabine Lisicki 6-3 6-4.
Serena Williams is also through to the third round but needed one hour 50 minutes to do so against Argentinean Gisela Dulko in Hisense Arena. Williams eventually prevailed 6-3 7-5.
The second seed got off to a good start taking a 3-1 lead but Dulko, ranked 45 in world, battled back to 5-2 then clawed her way back from triple break point to take the eighth game.
It was all academic though as Williams wrapped up the set in 31 minutes.
The second set was a different tale however, with Williams broken to be 3-0 then 5-3 down.
An extraordinary game followed, with Williams saving six set points and Dulko saving five break points before the three-time former champion prevailed.
The pair fought through six more deuces in Dulko’s next service game to close out the match 7-5 with an ace. Williams was far from impressed by her performance and went straight to the practice courts afterwards.
“Today I was at like a D minus at best,” she said smiling. That’s pretty far away (from my best form). But it’s good that I was able to win, too, when I wasn’t playing my best. I definitely will try to do better.“
Amelie Mauresmo was another who was forced to work hard for her place in the next round.
The number 20 seed had to come from a set down against British qualifier Elena Baltacha for a 4-6 6-3 6-2 win.
Mauresmo was outplayed by her less illustrious opponent in the first set but gained the upper hand quickly in the second set, breaking Baltacha in the opening game.
Baltacha, the British number three, forced her way back to 4-3 but couldn’t push on and was broken again as Mauresmo forced the match into a third set.
The 2006 champion went behind 2-0 but was able to take control when Baltacha’s error count began to rise and a double fault by the Brit sealed the win for her opponent.
Mauresmo will now meet 13th seed Victoria Azarenka, who had a free passage after Tathiana Garbin retired when 4-1 down in the first set.
Anabel Medina Garrigues and Flavia Pennetta both had straight sets wins to set up their third-round meeting, as did Virginie Razzano and Dominika Cibulkova.
Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez’s 6-2 6-4 victory against Akgul Amanmuradova has set up a possible clash with sixth seed Venus Williams provided she can overcome Carla Suarez Navarro in the first night match on Rod Laver Arena.
The possibility that the Bondarenko sisters, Kateryna and Alona, the 31st seeds could meet in the fourth round remains on course after Kateryna defeated Lourdes Dominguez Lino 7-5 7-5 in her second round match and Alona beat Sevrine Bremond 7-6 (7-1) 1-6 6-2.