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Williams, Azarenka set up 4th-round match, Tsonga advances

SERENA Williams advanced to the fourth round at the Australian Open today.

Williams, who won the title here in 2003, 2005 and 2007, started play on Rod Laver Arena on day six with a 6-1, 6-4 win over No. 41-ranked Peng Shuai of China.

The previous day she had to contend with a streaker on court when she was combining with sister Venus Williams for a doubles win.

And with security tightened at Melbourne Park, there was no repeat of any streaking or the violence that marred the tournament yesterday when violence erupted between ethnic Serbian and Bosnian fans.

Second-seeded Williams won the last six games of the first set against Peng without much trouble, but was broken twice early in the second.

She rallied to level at 3-3, then took a tumble when Peng wrong-footed her with a forehand crosscourt winner that set up break point.

The fall seemed to wake up Williams, though, and she shouted "Come on!" after whacking an ace two points later and holding serve.

"It was definitely a lot better than my second round. But I'm still trying to work on some things and hoping they'll come together," she said. "I'm feeling a little rusty, for whatever reason."

Serena Williams next faces No. 13 Victoria Azarenka of Belarus, who ousted 2006 Australian Open and Wimbledon champion Amelie Mauresmo 6-4, 6-2.

The 19-year-old Azarenka won her first career title at Brisbane earlier this month and said she was feeling confident of improving on her third-round loss to Williams here last year.

"It's second year in a row but it's fourth round," she said. "We'll see how it goes. I'm sure it'll be a great match."

Carla Suarez Navarro, who had an upset win over reigning Wimbledon champion Venus Williams in the second round, beat fellow Spaniard Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez 6-1, 6-4.

The 19-year-old Suarez Navarro, ranked 46th, will next play No. 21 Anabel Medina Garrigues -- who ousted 12th-seeded Flavia Pennetta of Italy 6-4, 6-1 -- in an all-Spanish fourth-round match.

The Bondarenko sisters of Ukraine were ousted within hours of each other, missing out on a fourth-round meeting.

Kateryna lost 6-2, 6-2 to No. 22 Zheng Jie of China and older sister Alona went down 7-6 (7), 6-4 to No. 8 Svetlana Kuznetsova, the 2004 US Open champion, who won despite making 68 unforced errors.

No. 18 Dominika Cibulkova of Slovakia beat Virginie Razzano of France 7-5, 7-5.

No. 14 Fernando Verdasco of Spain beat No. 22 Radek Stepanek 6-4, 6-0, 6-0 to advance along with three Frenchman Saturday.

Among them was fifth-seeded Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, the runner-up here last year, who beat Irsraeli Dudi Sela 6-4, 6-2, 1-6, 6-1. It was his best run at a major since his last trip to Melbourne Park.

Gael Monfils, a French Open semifinalist last year, had a 6-4, 6-3, 7-5 win over No. 17 Nicolas Almagro of Spain and will meet No. 6 Gilles Simon in the next round. Simon beat No. 19 Mario Ancic of Croatia, 7-6 (2), 6-4, 6-2.

No. 24 Richard Gasquet was against 2007 runner-up Fernando Gonzalez of Chile later today in one of the three men's night matches. Top-ranked Rafael Nadal and No. 4 Andy Murray were also in action.


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