Two-time champion Victoria Azarenka has continued her near-faultless run at the Australian Open, crushing Danka Kovinic 6-1 6-2 in the second round.
Azarenka is seeded 14th but on current form is shaping as Serena Williams’ biggest challenger at Melbourne Park.
The 26-year-old, who won the Open in 2012 and 2013, dished out a double bagel in the opening round.
Having ended Alison Van Uytvanck’s campaign in just 53 minutes, Azarenka accounted for Kovinic in a tick over an hour.
She has dropped three games in the tournament so far.
“I really don’t count the games,” Azarenka said courtside.
“I just enjoy myself on the court and try to play every point like it’s my last point.”
Azarenka is back to full fitness after a frustrating 2015 campaign, during which she failed to progress beyond the quarter-finals at any grand slam.
The Belarusian won the Brisbane International earlier this month and has continued her strong form since.
She noted it was hard to compare her current tilt at Open glory with the success she enjoyed in 2012 and 2013.
“Where I am in my life is very different and I’m so very happy to be here and want to enjoy it as long as I can,” Azarenka said.
“I know it’s a long way to go (to the final) so I like to approach it day by day. Stay in the moment and enjoy.”
Azarenka next faces Naomi Osaka, an 18-year-old on grand slam debut who ousted 18th seed Elina Svitolina 6-4 6-4 on Thursday.
Third seed Garbine Muguruza recorded a 6-4 6-2 victory over Kirsten Flipkens in her second-round clash at Melbourne Park.
“Kirsten is a very difficult opponent. She has a very unique game so I’m really happy to be in the third round,” Spaniard Muguruza said courtside.
Muguruza is yet to drop a set in the tournament and next faces world No.48 Barbora Strycova.
Former finalist Ana Ivanovic overcame a half-hour stoppage while medics treated a spectator who fell down stairs at Rod Laver Arena to advance to the third round with a 6-3 6-3 win over Latvian qualifier Anastasija Sevastova.
“I felt really bad. I was actually shaking because the sound of the lady falling was really loud,” Ivanovic said.
“It was actually good to wait a little bit.”
But fellow Serbian and former world No.1 Jelena Jankovic crashed out, the Serbian 19th seed going down 3-6 7-6 (7-5) 6-4 to little-known German Laura Siegemund.
Former Wimbledon runner-up Sabine Lisicki, seeded 30th, was also eliminated in a 6-3 2-6 6-4 loss to Czech Denisa Allertova.
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