Serena Williams, Li Na advance to round three in the heat
MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) -- Serena Williams wore a fitted pink blazer into her second-round match at the Australian Open, giving the impression she wasn't feeling the heat.
And after her 6-1, 6-2 win over Vesna Dolonc on Wednesday, the second consecutive scorching day at the season's first major, Williams said she could remember hotter matches.
By improving her career mark to 60-8 at Melbourne Park, she equaled Margaret Court's record 60 match wins at the Australian Open in the Open era.
On day three at Melbourne Park, the center court at Rod Laver Arena was - at least according to the two fans holding up a sign - ''Serena's Arena.''
The heat topped 40 Celsius (104F) during the 63-minute match, and peaked at just under 42 C (108 F) later during Novak Djokovic's 6-0, 6-4, 6-4 win over Leonardo Mayer. Second-seeded Djokovic, aiming to be the first man in the Open era to win four consecutive Australian Open titles, didn't face a break point.
Williams fended off the only break point she faced with an ace, one of her 10 in the match. She hit 24 winners, sticking to the ideal strategy of keeping the points short on a hot day and extended her winning streak to 24 matches.
She said didn't even go outside Tuesday because conditions ''were a little bit extreme,'' adding that the prospect of the scorching temperatures had even interrupted her sleep.
''I kept waking up in the middle of the night last night just paranoid. I just wanted to stay hydrated,'' she said. ''The last thing I want to do is to cramp in this weather. It can happen so easy.''
Williams next meets No. 31-seeded Daniela Hantuchova, who was on court for 3 hours, 13 minutes in her 6-3, 3-6, 12-10 win over Karolina Pliskova.
Temperatures topped 42 Celsius (108F) on Tuesday, and there were a total of nine retirements in the first round, equaling a Grand Slam record. The forecast is for the heat wave to continue until Friday.
Li Na opened proceedings on Rod Laver on Wednesday and completed back-to-back wins over the two youngest players in the draw.
The 2011 French Open champion, a two-time finalist at Melbourne Park, raced through the first set against 16-year-old Belinda Bencic in 22 minutes, conceding just 10 points. She had to work harder in the second before winning 6-0, 7-6 (5).
Li, from Wuhan, one of the three ''Stove Cities'' in central China renowned for hot temperatures, turns 32 next month. In the first round, she dropped just two games as she accounted for 16-year-old Ana Konjuh, the youngest player in the tournament.
''It's warm, but it's OK,'' Li said.
She'll next meet No. 26 Lucie Safarova, who beat Czech qualifier Lucie Hradecka 6-7(4), 6-3, 6-0.
No. 9 Angelique Kerber advanced and will next meet American Alison Riske, who trounced Yanina Wickmayer 6-1, 6-1. Australian wild-card entry Casey Dellacqua upset No. 18 Kirsten Flipkens 6-3, 6-0.
No. 17 Sam Stosur is through to the third round of her home Grand Slam for the first time in three years after a 6-2, 6-0 win over Tsvetana Pironkova. No. 30 Eugenie Bouchard of Canada beat Virginie Razzano 6-2, 7-6 (10) and Zheng Jie defeated American Madison Keys 7-6 (5), 1-6, 7-5.
Stosur will face former French Open champion Ana Ivanovic in the third round after the Serbian player beat Annika Beck of Germany 6-1, 6-2. The Stosur-Ivanovic winner could face Williams in the round of 16.
The tournament's heat rule went into effect in the first match on Margaret Court Arena, giving No. 15-seeded Sabine Lisicki and Monica Niculescu a 10-minute break after the second set. Niculescu won 2-6, 6-2, 6-2 and will next play No. 22 Ekaterina Makarova, who followed up her win over Venus Williams with a 6-2, 7-5 victory over American Irina Falconi.
No. 28 Flavia Pennetta had a 6-3, 6-4 win over Monica Puig to set up a third-round match against Mona Barthel, a 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 winner over Thailand's Luksika Kumkhum.
The players are finding ways to cope, using ice vests and wet towels in the changeovers.
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