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Tennis: Li Na battles through on return to action

Li Na's return to action after last month's stunning Australian Open triumph proved a tough battle as she eventually prevailed in three sets over Slovakian Magdalena Rybarikova in the WTA Qatar Open on Wednesday. The top-seeded Chinese player needed two and a quarter hours to overcome blustery wind and Rybarikova, the world number 32, 6-1, 5-7, 6-2, which reversed the result of their only previous meeting in 2009.

Tennis: Australia storms into Fed Cup semis with Russia win

Australia stormed into the Fed Cup semi-finals Sunday for the first time in 21 years, with Samantha Stosur clocking a second win in Hobart to secure an unassailable 3-0 lead over Russia. Stosur, the world number 16 and 2011 US Open champion, saw off 158-ranked teenager Victoria Kan in an hour exactly, with a straight sets 6-2, 6-3 win over the 18-year-old Fed Cup debutante. "I'm very, very happy. She (Kan) can do a lot of different things, she does everything nicely and when she gets older and a little bit more strong I'm sure that will all come together," said Stosur.

Tennis: Australia take charge against Russia

Australia took a firm grip on their Fed Cup first round tie against a young and inexperienced Russian team Saturday, racing to an easy 2-0 lead. The Russians, losing finalists last year, have been shorn of their big names for the clash at the Domain Tennis Centre in Hobart, missing their 13 top players, and the home team took full advantage. World number 16 Samantha Stosur saw off unknown 16-year-old Veronika Kudermetova, ranked 650th in the world, 6-4, 6-0.

Tennis: Australia not underestimating young Russia threat

Australia's top player Samantha Stosur is not underestimating a largely unknown Russian team in their Fed Cup first round tie, saying her young and inexperienced opponents have nothing to lose. The Russians, losing finalists last year, have been shorn of their big names for the clash this weekend at the Domain Tennis Centre in Hobart.

Tennis: Stosur targets top 10 return, says best yet to come

Samantha Stosur insisted her best years are still ahead of her after another failure at the Australian Open, and said her immediate goal was getting back into the world top 10. The Australian has gained a reputation for wilting under the pressure of playing in front of her home crowd, and she once again threw away a lead in her third-round clash with Ana Ivanovic on Friday evening. She lost 6-7 (8/10), 6-4, 6-2 to maintain her poor record of never having gone beyond the fourth round at Melbourne Park in 12 attempts.

Tennis: Williams, Li through as Stosur stumbles

Top seed Serena Williams set a new record en route to the Australian Open fourth round Friday as Li Na narrowly avoided an upset and Samantha Stosur suffered more heartbreak in front of her home fans. On another hot Melbourne day, Williams, the world number one and five-time tournament champion, powered past Daniela Hantuchova 6-3, 6-3 to record her 61st Australian Open win, surpassing the previous mark set by Margaret Court.

Tennis: Ivanovic beats home hope Stosur at Aussie Open

Former world number one Ana Ivanovic set up a fourth-round clash with Serena Williams Friday after coming from a set down to crush local hope Samantha Stosur. The glamorous Serb, who won the warm-up Auckland International, showed glimpses of her former best to beat the Australian 6-7 (8/10), 6-4, 6-2 and ruin Stosur's home Grand Slam. Stosur has gained a reputation for choking under the pressure of playing in front of her home crowd, and she once again threw away a lead. She has never gone beyond the fourth round at Melbourne Park in 12 attempts.

Tennis: Serena strolls as Li avoids upset

Top seed Serena Williams set a new record en route to the Australian Open fourth round Friday as Li Na avoided an upset by fighting back from match point to stay alive. On another hot Melbourne day, the world number one and five-time tournament champion powered past Daniela Hantuchova 6-3, 6-3 to record her 61st Australian Open win, surpassing the previous mark set by Margaret Court. Asked which had been her favourite matches, Williams, who made her Melbourne debut as a 16-year-old in 1998, replied: "All the finals I was able to win."

Serena into fourth round after easy win over Hantuchova

MELBOURNE (Reuters) - Serena Williams powered past Daniela Hantuchova 6-3 6-3 at the Australian Open on Friday to advance to the fourth round. The world number one had lost their only other encounter at Melbourne Park, in the third round in 2006 when the Slovakian beat her in straight sets, but she made no mistake this time around.

Del Potro stands firm as seeds tumble in Sydney

By Ian Ransom MELBOURNE (Reuters) - World number five Juan Martin del Potro, the man tipped to challenge for grand slam titles this season, began his year with a scrappy win over Frenchman Nicolas Mahut to advance to the quarter-finals of the Sydney International on Wednesday. The Sydney warm-up to the Australian Open has proved a graveyard for the seeds this week but the 25-year-old former U.S. Open champion avoided an early flight to Melbourne by coming back to win 1-6 6-3 6-4.
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