Denmark's Caroline Wozniacki gives her all against Sweden's Johanna Larsson on day three of the Australian Open. Picture: Mark Dadswell/AAP
Denmark's Caroline Wozniacki gives her all against Sweden's Johanna Larsson on day three of the Australian Open. Picture: Mark Dadswell/AAP

Reigning champ Wozniacki enters Australian Open third round

REIGNING champion Caroline Wozniacki has strolled into the Australian Open third round, defeating Swede Johanna Larsson for the loss of just four games.

The world No.3 was in an imposing mood on Margaret Court Arena on Wednesday, needing just 66 minutes to defeating Larsson 6-1 6-3.

She did the damage on her backhand, slamming 11 of her 19 winners off her non-preferred side.

"I was trying to stay consistent and as aggressive as I could and I think I served well too," Wozniacki said after the destruction.

"If I play my best I'm hard to beat. If they do (beat me) then, just well done."

Wozniaki's road gets tougher from here.

Next up, she is likely to face a resurgent Maria Sharapova, a 6-0 6-0 winner in the first round, who faces another Swede, Rebecca Peterson, late on Wednesday night.

Then awaits a likely meeting with American fifth seed Sloane Stephens, who ended the campaign of her former doubles partner and long-time friend Timea Babos.

Stephens triumphed 6-3 6-1, although the second-round victory was a more hard-fought one than suggested by the scoreline.

The big-serving Hungarian was down break point on 23 occasions, but Stephens was able to convert only five of them in a match that lasted one hour and 35 minutes.

"We were friends when we played juniors, we practised together and stuff, but I don't know how that came to pass," Stephens said of her successful partnership with Babos, which netted three junior grand slam doubles titles in 2010.

"I still see her every week. We're good.

"She's obviously an incredible doubles player - last year she was No.1 in the world.

"She had some really good results and I'm happy for her."

Stephens enjoyed her grand slam breakthrough at the 2013 Australian Open, where she beat Serena Williams to advance to the semis as a 19-year-old.

But it has been more of a case of slim pickings in recent times, with the victory over Babos only her third at Melbourne Park in the past five years.

"I thought it was a good match and obviously it's not easy playing someone who serves like that," the 2017 US Open champion said.

"I am feeling relaxed considering I hadn't won a match here in I don't know how long."

Stephens' third-round opponent will be Croatian No.31 seed Petra Martic, who ousted Czech Marketa Vondrousova 6-4 7-5.

In other early action on Wednesday, French No.19 seed Caroline Garcia eased past Australian wildcard Zoe Hives 6-3 6-3.

Russian Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova upset No.9 seed Kiki Bertens from the Netherlands 3-6 6-3 6-3.

Belarus had two winners: Aliaksandra Sasnovich ousted 20th seed Anett Kontaveit from Estonia 6-3 6-3, and 11th seed Aryna Sabalenka defeated Briton Katie Boulter 6-3 6-4.

- AAP

News Corp Australia


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