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AO Wednesday: Sam & Serena On Schedule

Samantha Stosur could have her hands full with Tsvetana Pironkova in the second round of the Australian Open. Serena Williams and Li Na are also in action.

Published January 14, 2014 12:11

AO Wednesday: Sam & Serena On Schedule
Samantha Stosur

MELBOURNE, Australia - The draw for Australian star Samantha Stosur doesn't get any easier as she seeks entry into the third round of the Australian Open. Serena Williams and Li Na also will be on Rod Laver Arena.

Wednesday, Second Round

Rod Laver Arena
[17] Samantha Stosur (AUS #17) vs. Tsvetana Pironkova (BUL #57)
Head-to-head:
Stosur leads 3-0
Samantha Stosur beat last week's Hobart runner-up, Klara Zakopalova, in Monday's first round and now will face off with another player that is in fine form, Tsvetana Pironkova. The Bulgarian went from qualifying all the way to her first WTA title last week in Sydney. Also, her defeat of Sílvia Soler-Espinosa in her Melbourne opener was her ninth straight match win and gave her a 13-set win streak.

"To go through qualies and win a tournament as tough as what Sydney was, she must be playing very well," Stosur said. "I kind of know her game a little bit. We played each other in the Tournament of Champions last year, but those were completely different circumstances."

Stosur, one of three Australians into the second round, has not surrendered a set in her three prior meetings with Pironkova and is looking to reach the third round here for the first time since 2011.

[1] Serena Williams (USA #1) vs. Vesna Dolonc (SRB #104)
Head-to-head: First meeting
As she continues her chase for her 18th Grand Slam title, five-time Australian Open champ Serena Williams is approaching a couple of other marks as well. A victory over Vesna Dolonc would be her 60th at the Australian Open, tied with Margaret Court for the record. It will also be her 68th Australian Open match, one short of Lindsay Davenport's record. Her rout of Ashleigh Barty in her opener extended her winning streak to 23 matches. It is the second longest win streak of her career, with her 34-match streak last year her longest.

Dolonc has pulled off a Grand Slam surprise before, with her best win in terms of ranking coming over No.14 Jelena Jankovic in the second round of Wimbledon last year. She also has three other Top 20 wins to her credit, one of those coming over No.17 Marion Bartoli here in 2011. If the Serb achieves the monumental upset, she would match her best Grand Slam outing.

[4] Li Na (CHN #4) vs. [Q] Belinda Bencic (SUI #187)
Head-to-head:
First meeting
Li Na disposed of the youngest player in the draw, 16-year-old Ana Konjuh, in the first round, and now takes on the second-youngest in the form of 16-year-old Belinda Bencic. Last year's Australian Open runner-up is undefeated on the season, having won Shenzhen in her 2014 debut. She is 22-4 in the second round of Grand Slams, including 7-0 at the Australian Open, and hasn't lost to a player outside the Top 150 since falling to No.155 Sabine Lisicki at Stuttgart in 2011.

Bencic, the 2013 Roland Garros and Wimbledon junior champ, will be playing the highest-ranked foe of her young career - with No.11 Petra Kvitova at Tokyo last year her highest-ranked conqueror and No.76 Lauren Davis at Osaka last year her highest-ranked victim. After making it through qualifying here, she made her Grand Slam main draw debut with a triumph over 43-year-old Kimiko Date-Krumm in a match featuring the biggest age gap at a Grand Slam in eight and a half years.

Around the grounds…
Rising American star Madison Keys looks for her third straight win against Zheng Jie, No.9 seed Angelique Kerber aims to improve to 4-0 against Alla Kudryavtseva and former World No.1 Ana Ivanovic takes on Annika Beck, who did not surrender a game in her opener.

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