Andy Brownbill/Associated Press
Serena Williams has never lost to second-round opponent Lucie Safarova.
Serena Williams has much to prove if she wants to regain her status as the top women’s player in the world.
She gets her second chance in the Australian Open when she meets Lucie Safarova in the second round Thursday morning at 3 a.m. ET.
Williams started the tournament with a straight-set victory over Belinda Bencic, and she will try to establish her dominance once again.
Safarova has been one of her favorite opponents during her career, as she has built a 9-0 record against the Czech player. Williams is trying to regain the No. 1 ranking she lost to Angelique Kerber last year.
Kerber picked up a second-round victory over Carina Witthoeft by a 6-2, 6-7 (3), 6-2 margin. Kerber has been extended to three sets in each of her first two matches, and that’s not the best way for the No. 1 seed to begin the tournament.
“I was doing, I think, a lot of mistakes like in the important moments,” Kerber told Greg Garber of ESPN.com. “But at the end, I’m happy that I won the match. It was not so easy. The [breezy] conditions were, like, also a little bit difficult today.”
On the men’s side, Roger Federer continued his comeback with a second-round victory over American Noah Rubin. Federer is seeded 17th after sitting our six months following knee surgery, and he defeated his 20-year-old opponent by a 7-5, 6-3, 7-6 (3) margin.
|Pablo Carreno Busta (30)||Kyle Edmund||7 p.m.||Edmund|
|Donald Young||Philipp Kohlschreiber (32)||7 p.m.||Kohlschreiber|
|Carlos Berlocq||Richard Gasquet (18)||7 p.m.||Gasquet|
|Gilles Simon (25)||Rogerio Dutra Silva||9 p.m.||Simon|
|Roberto Bautista Agut (13)||Yoshihito Nishioka||9 p.m.||Nishioka|
|Grigor Dimitrov (15)||Hyeon Chung||9 p.m.||Dimitrov|
|Ernesto Escobedo||David Ferrer (21)||9:30 p.m.||Ferrer|
|Gilles Muller||Milos Raonic (3)||11 p.m.||Raonic|
|Denis Istomin||Novak Djokovic (2)||11 p.m.||Djokovic|
|Radek Stepanek||David Goffin (11)||11 p.m.||Goffin|
|Ivo Karlovic (20)||Andrew Whittington||11:30 p.m.||Karlovic|
|Gael Monfils (6)||Alexandr Dolgopolov||11:30 p.m.||Monfils|
|Jelena Ostapenko||Yulia Putintseva (31)||7 p.m.||Putintseva|
|Sara Errani||Ekaterina Makarova (30)||7 p.m.||Errani|
|Karolina Pliskova (5)||Anna Blinkova||7 p.m.||Pliskova|
|Naomi Osaka||Johanna Konta (9)||7 p.m.||Konta|
|Oceane Dodin||Caroline Garcia (21)||7 p.m.||Garcia|
|Dominika Cibulkova (6)||Su-Wei Hsieh||9 p.m.||Cibulkova|
|Caroline Wozniacki (17)||Donna Vekic||9 p.m.||Wozniacki|
|Barbora Strycova (16)||Andrea Petkovic||9 p.m.||Strycova|
|Jennifer Brady||Heather Watson||9:30 p.m.||Watson|
|Elena Vesnina (14)||Mandy Minella||9:30 p.m||Vesnina|
|Alexander Zverev (24)||Frances Tiafoe||1:30 a.m.||Tiafoe|
|Benoit Paire||Fabio Fognini||1:30 a.m.||Paire|
|Dominic Thiem (8)||Jordan Thompson||5 a.m.||Thiem|
|Marcos Baghdatis||Rafael Nadal (9)||5 a.m.||Nadal|
|Nicole Gibbs||Irina Falconi||1 a.m.||Falconi|
|Danka Kovinic||Timea Bacsinszky (12)||1:30 a.m.||Bacsinszky|
|Daria Gavrilova (22)||Ana Konjuh||1:30 a.m.||Gavrilova|
|Alize Cornet (28)||Maria Sakkari||2 a.m.||Cornet|
|Mirjana Lucic-Baroni||Agnieszka Radwanska (3)||3 a.m.||Radwanska|
|Lucie Safarova||Serena Williams (2)||3 a.m.||Williams|
The tournament will get much tougher for the 35-year-old Federer from this point forward. He has beaten two unseeded qualifiers, but his next match is against 10th-seeded Tomas Berdych.
“Berdych, yeah, it’s not an easy draw,” Federer told Garber. “Now a top-10 player, he’s beaten me in New York and at Wimbledon and the Olympics. He’s a great player. I like Tomas’ game—that’s a tough one.”
Andy Murray is comfortably through.
He’s in the #AustralianOpen third round with a 6-3 6-0 6-2 victory.
Reaction: https://t.co/Op5xhEbiXZ pic.twitter.com/5Qp818unsq
— BBC Sport (@BBCSport) January 18, 2017
Top-seeded Andy Murray had no trouble handling Russian Andrey Rublev in his second-round match. Murray disposed of Rublev by a 6-3, 6-0, 6-2 margin.
While Rublev could not provide a serious challenge to the Scottish superstar, Murray turned his ankle at the start of the third set and finished the match in some difficulty. He complained about the injury to the supporters sitting in his box during the match but tried to downplay it when he spoke to the media afterwards.
“It’s just a little bit sore, it’s not too serious but I definitely rolled it a bit,” Murray said, (h/t PA Sport and ESPN.com). “I’ll make sure I get some ice on it. I was moving OK at the end which is positive.
“Sometimes if you roll your ankle and it feels bad, you can’t put weight on it but I could put weight on it so I’m sure it’ll be fine.”
Second-seeded Novak Djokovic returns to action Wednesday night at 11 p.m. ET against Denis Istomin of Uzbekistan, while third-seeded Canadian Milos Raonic meets Gilles Muller of Luxembourg at the same time.
All matches are listed with start times in Eastern Standard Time. Matches listed with p.m. start times will be played Wednesday night; matches with a.m. start times will be played Thursday morning.