Unlike her sister Venus, who was crushed by in-form Maria Sharapova in the third round, for the second straight match Serena Williams hit a near-record serve and cruised to the fourth round of the Australian Open with a 6-1 6-3 victory over Ayumi Morita. Serena sealed her second-round match with a 207 kmh ace and in her latest encounter she repeated such a fast serve. Converted into miles per hour, that’s 128.6, and the record, currently held by Venus Williams, is 129 mph.
Top seed Victoria Azarenka was greatly tested in her third round against Jamie Hampton, who may have pulled off an upset had she not sustained a lower back injury. Playing at that stage of a Grand Slam for the first time, Hampton drew the crowd to her side with her undying determination and powerful groundstrokes. She forced the third set and even went up a break in it, but the defending champion prevailed 6-4 4-6 6-2, despite trailing Hampton 17 to 41 in the winners department.
The fourth round is now all set up. Let’s see who’s facing whom:
Victoria Azarenka  vs. Elena Vesnina
Caroline Wozniacki  vs. Svetlana Kuznetsova
Serena Williams  vs. Maria Kirilenko 
Bojana Jovanovski vs. Sloane Stephens 
Li Na  vs. Julia Goerges 
Ana Ivanovic  vs. Agnieszka Radwanska 
Angelique Kerber  vs. Ekaterina Makarova 
Kirsten Flipkens vs. Maria Sharapova 
(photo: © Neal Trousdale)
A quick note on the Hampton injury. I agree she could have pulled off the upset had she not aggravated the 2 herniated disks in her lower back. A injury that has been since the French Open last year. Quite an impressive feat to do her that injury.
Wozniacki/Kuznetsova, Li/Goerges and Radwanska/Ivanovic are probably the pick of the 4th rounders but none of them really excite me. All the expected challengers still in so we should see some super match-ups from the quarters.