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Thursday 21 September 2017

Serena defies twisted ankle to wrap up 500th victory

SERENA WILLIAMS was only two points from her 500th career win when she tumbled to the court in the second round of the Australian Open.

It's OK, she thought, it's the good ankle. After sitting and watching Barbora Zahlavova Strycova's shot float out to end the penultimate rally, Williams got up and hit a backhand winner down the line on match point to move into the third round with a 6-0 6-4 victory today.

It improved her career record to 500-104 in tour matches and it was her 16th consecutive win at Melbourne Park, where she has won five of her 13 Grand Slam titles.

"It's totally fine," she said, playing down concern that the fall had aggravated the left ankle sprain which hampered her preparation for the season's first major.

"There was no extra pain. I twisted it. But it's all taped up, so the tape really helped."

Elsewhere, Novak Djokovic's 6-3 6-2 6-1 win over Colombian Santiago Giraldo was his 16th in a row in majors and keeps him on track to become only the fifth man in the Open era to win three consecutive Grand Slam singles tournaments.

Sixth-seeded Jo-Wilfried Tsonga won 7-5 6-4 6-4 over Ricardo Mello (Brazil), while No5 David Ferrer fought back to beat Ryan Sweeting (USA) 6-7 6-2 3-6 6-2 6-3.

No9 Janko Tipsarevic (Serbia), No23 Milos Raonic (Canada), No27 Juan Ignacio Chela (Argentina), Michael Llodra (France) and Frederico Gil (Portugal) also went through.

On the women's side, No2 Petra Kvitova beat Carla Suarez Navarro (Spain) 6-2 2-6 6-4.

Maria Sharapova also marched on after a 6-0 6-1 second-round win over US qualifier Jamie Hampton.

Seventh-seeded Vera Zvonareva and No21 Ana Ivanovic also advanced, while seeded players Roberta Vinci (Italy), Nadia Petrova (Russia) and Kaia Kanepi (Estonia) are out.

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