MELBOURNE, Australia - What a difference a year makes - last year she came into the Australian Open at No.30, now No.5 - and Angelique Kerber put her top player status on display in her second round match, beating Lucie Hradecka to become one of the first players to make the last 32.
The No.5-seeded Kerber had beaten Hradecka in all four of their previous meetings and had no problems this time, needing just an hour and nine minutes to make it past the hard-hitting Czech, 63 61.
"Lucie's a tough opponent and you need to be ready for the whole match, because she plays the ball very hard and deep in the court," Kerber said. "I was trying to move very well and just play my game, and I'm happy I won the match in two sets, especially because it was very hot out there today."
Next for Kerber is a little bit of a surprise in Madison Keys. The 17-year-old American wildcard fired 23 winners - including eight off the forehand and six aces - to pick off No.30 seed Tamira Paszek, 62 61.
"My first round here was a little bit nerve-wracking, but today was much better just having that one match under my belt," Keys said. "On Monday I was playing an Australian on a big court, and the crowd was against me, but today I felt like I just played tennis. I feel good. Hopefully I can keep it up."
"I just have to focus on playing my game and worrying about me," Keys said. "She's obviously a good player. She's been around and she's done well the last couple years. I have to focus on what I'm doing."
Speaking of Radwanska and Li, both of them won through in the day session as well, the No.4-seeded Radwanska scoring a 63 63 win over Irina-Camelia Begu to improve to 11-0 on the season, and 22-0 in sets, and the No.6-seeded Li coming alive from double set point down in the second set against Olga Govortsova, winning 14 of 15 points from 3-5, 15-40 to close out the hard-hitting Belarusian, 62 75.