World No 2 Karolina Pliskova continued her unbeaten run in 2020 while fourth seed Simona Halep had to battle a few nervy moments as they advanced to the third round of the Australian Open on Thursday.
Pliskova, who won the Brisbane title to start the season, beat former Laura Siegemund 6-3, 6-3. She had to fight back from a slow start after going down a break early but reeled eight aces in her straight sets win.
Former champion Angelique Kerber eased into the third round with a straight-set victory, surviving a tricky test against 21-year-old Australian wildcard Priscilla Hon 6-3, 6-2. Kerber, the 17th seeded, needed one hour and 12 minutes to overcome World No 139 Hon.
Earlier in the day, Switzerland’s sixth seed Belinda Bencic beat Jelena Ostapenko 7-5, 7-5 on Margaret Court Arena, one of three stadiums with a retractable roof as muddy rain delayed several matches at the weather-hit Grand Slam.
CiCi Bellis, who is making her return after a injuries and surgeries that almost ended her career even before she turned 20, beat 20th seed Karolina Muchova 6-4 6-4.
Donna Vekic, the 19th seed, reached the third round of the Australian Open for first time in her career with a 6-4, 6-2 win over France’s Alizé Cornet. Ninth seed Kiki Bertens matched her career-best Australian Open result on beating wildcard Arina Rodionova, 6-3, 7-
Two-time Grand Slam champion Garbine Muguruza, who is unseeded in Melbourne, defeated local hope Ajla Tomljanovic 6-3, 3-6, 6-3.
Carla Suarez Navarro, who was playing her last Australian Open after announcing her retirement, went down to 18-year-old Iga Swiatek 6-3, 7-5.
Belinda Bencic (SUI x6) bt Jelena Ostapenko (LAT) 7-5, 7-5
Anett Kontaveit (EST x28) bt Sara Sorribes (ESP) 6-2, 4-6, 6-1
Donna Vekic (CRO x19) bt Alize Cornet (FRA) 6-4, 6-2
Iga Swiatek (POL) bt Carla Suarez (ESP) 6-3, 7-5
Elise Mertens (BEL x16) bt Heather Watson (GBR) 6-3, 6-0
Catherine Bellis (USA) bt Karolina Muchova (CZE x20) 6-4, 6-4
Simona Halep (ROU x4) bt Harriet Dart (GBR) 6-2, 6-4
Garbine Muguruza (ESP) bt Ajla Tomljanovic (AUS) 6-3, 3-6, 6-3
Zarina Diyas (KAZ) bt Anna Blinkova (RUS) 4-6, 6-3, 6-4
Kiki Bertens (NED x9) bt Arina Rodionova (AUS) 6-3, 7-5
Camila Giorgi (ITA) bt Svetlana Kuznetsova (RUS) 6-3, 6-1
Angelique Kerber (GER x17) bt Priscilla Hon (AUS) 6-3, 6-2
Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (RUS x30) bt Taylor Townsend (USA) 7-5, 7-6 (7/1)
Karolina Pliskova (CZE x2) bt Laura Siegemund (GER) 6-3, 6-3