Daniela Hantuchova has always played some of her best tennis at the Australian Open. Yesterday, she beat both Karolina Pliskova and the Australian heat. It took Hantuchova three hours and thirteen minutes and five match points, but she walked away with a 6-3, 3-6, 12-10 victory.
Her next job? She has to play Serena Williams. Williams is 8-1 against Hantuchova, though it's worth mentioning that the Slovak's one win against Williams was at the 2006 Australian Open. That's a memory Hantuchova can call on. Of course, there's also that memory of the time when, while playing--for all practical purposes--with just one hand and one leg, Williams still defeated a constantly choking Hantuchova. At any rate, it will be good to see them play one another again.
Madison Keys is out, a victim--not surprisingly--of Zheng Jie, who beat her 7-6, 1-6, 7-5. Casey Dellacqua easily defeated Kirsten Flipkens, Mona Barthel put an end to Luksika Kumkhum's brief but famous run, and Lucie Safarova won an all-Czech, all-Lucie contest against Lucie Hradecka.
Li Na knocked off her second 16-year-old in a row with her straight set victory over number 1 junior Belinda Bencic. Bencic was clueless in the first set, but put up a great fight, even getting two breaks, in the second. She was also very pleasing to watch, and looked as though she was savoring the experience.
A (surely) very tired Tsvetana Pironkova fell easily to a (surprisingly) confident Samantha Stosur. Stosur's serve was spot-on. Serena Williams, Angelique Kerber, Eugenie Bouchard, and Ekaterina Makarova all advanced. Sabine Lisicki did not. The German was put completely out of sorts by the freaky slicing forehand of Monica Niculescu, who has flummoxed many a peer in her day. But let's face it--better Niculescu than a stretcher and a team of medics.