The bottom half of the draw is back in action led by Serena Williams, Agnieszka Radwanska and Karolina Pliskova. We preview all the day's matchups right here at
WTA Staff

MELBOURNE, Australia - The bottom half of the draw is back in action led by Serena Williams, Agnieszka Radwanska and Karolina Pliskova. We preview all the day's matchups right here at

Thursday, Second Round

[2] Serena Williams (USA #2) vs Lucie Safarova (CZE #61)
Serena leads 9-0
Key Stat: Serena is contesting the Australian Open for the 17th time - the joint-most along with sister Venus Williams

Lucie Safarova saved an astonishing nine match points in her opening match against Yanina Wickmayer, a two-hour three-set marathon. But unfortunately for the Czech, it doesn't get any easier in the second round, where she'll need all that grit against six-time champion Serena Williams.

The last time these two met was at the final of the French Open back in 2015, with this early encounter a testament to the pair's diverging career paths. Serena is now seeking her record breaking 23rd Grand Slam title in Melbourne and Safarova, a former World No.5, plummeting out of the Top 50 after struggling with injury and illness.

"I didn't come here to lose in the first round, or the second round, or at all," Serena told press earlier in the tournament. "I'm just here to play and to win obviously, but just to play."

Agnieszka Radwanska

 [3] Agnieszka Radwanska (POL #3) vs Mirjana Lucic-Baroni (CRO #79)
Radwanska leads 2-0
Key Stat
: Lucic-Baroni is 3-14 against Top 5 players

The last time Mirjana Lucic-Baroni won a match in Melbourne it was 1998 - Martina Hingis was the WTA World No.1 and Serena Williams hadn't yet won her first career title.

But there's not much time for the former Wimbledon semifinal to revel in the three-set comeback win over Wang Qiang, because up next is World No.3 Agnieszka Radwanska.

A two-time semifinalist here, Radwanska faced a battle in her opener against Tsvetana Pironkova but saved her best for last to move into the second round for the ninth time in her career. The Pole is hoping to continue that run and bring her signature mix of skill and creativity to the second week of this Slam.

"I really feel good on this center court," Radwanska said in press. "I like to play here, I like Australia. I've been always playing good tennis here, two semis.

"Of course, that's always very close till the end. Hopefully I can do one step forward and play seven matches here."

Karolina Pliskova

[5] Karolina Pliskova (CZE #5) vs [Q] Anna Blinkova (RUS #189)
First meeting
Key Stat: This is Blinkova's first ever match against a Top 10 opponent

No.5 seed Karolina Pliskova barely broke a sweat in her Melbourne opener, making quick work of Spain's Sara Sorribes Tormo and needing just one hour and dropping two games en route to the second round.

But she still wasn't completely satisfied after the 6-2, 6-0 victory:

"I think there are more things which I want to improve. First round, it's always tricky, and I didn't feel that good in the first set there.

"I was a little bit nervous in the beginning, made a lot of mistakes on my forehand, especially no first serves. So this I want to improve high percentage of the first serve, definitely."

It's a scary prospect that the WTA's undisputed ace leader still wants to improve her serve. But that's what Russian qualifier Anna Blinkova will be up against in her first ever match against a Top 10 opponent.

Blinkova might be slightly out of her depths against big-hitting Pliskova, but don't count her out just yet: she started her Australian Open main draw campaign with a statement win over the No.32-ranked Monica Niculescu.  

Around the grounds?

No.6 seed Dominika Cibulkova continues her quest for a maiden Slam in her second round clash against Taipei's Hsieh Su-Wei. Cibulkova leads their head-to-head 1-0, but they haven't played in almost three years. Also in action, Naomi Osaka will look for Grand Slam revenge against No.9 seed Johanna Konta. The Brit won the pair's only previous encounter, which came in the second round of qualifying at the 2015 US Open. No.17 seed Caroline Wozniacki is hoping for another comfortable win in her rematch against Donna Vekic, who's into the second round of a Grand Slam for the first time since 2015 French Open. Meanwhile, No.22 seed Daria Gavrilova carries home hopes in her second round clash against 19-year-old Ana Konjuh. Gavrilova is one of two Aussies remaining in the draw.