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Australian Open: Wozniacki and Stephens through to third round

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Australian Open: Wozniacki and Stephens through to third round


Defending champion Caroline Wozniacki eased into the third round of the Australian Open with a straight-set win over Sweden’s Johanna Larsson.

The Danish third seed needed just 66 minutes to beat world number 75 Larsson 6-1 6-3.

Wozniacki will face either Russia’s Maria Sharapova, who won the title in Melbourne in 2008, or Swede Rebecca Peterson on Friday.

However, 29th seed Donna Vekic was stunned by wildcard Kimberly Birrell.

Australia’s Birrell, ranked 240th in the world, beat the Croat 6-4 4-6 6-1 to reach the third round of a Grand Slam for the first time.

American Sloane Stephens, the 2017 US Open winner, set up a third-round meeting with Petra Martic after seeing off Hungary’s Timea Babos 6-3 6-1.

Ninth seed Kiki Bertens suffered a surprise exit to world number 42 Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, despite the Dutch player taking the opening set.

Russian Pavlyuchenkova, a quarter-finalist in Melbourne two years ago, won 3-6 6-3 6-3 in one hour 48 minutes.

Australian Ashleigh Barty impressed the home crowd on Rod Laver Arena as the 15th seed saw off China’s Yafan Wang 6-2 6-3 in little over an hour.

“I feel great,” said Barty. “It’s certainly nice to be playing in Australia and playing well.”

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