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Serena and Novak sizzle

- Bhupathi and Yuki advance; sharan crashes out
A beaming Ana Ivanovic after her win against Annika Beck, in Melbourne, on Wednesday

Melbourne: Tournament favourites Novak Djokovic and Serena Williams raced into the third round of the Australian Open on Wednesday, eager to get the job done and escape the oppressive heat that smothered Melbourne Park for a second day in a row.

Cloud cover and a gusting wind help keep temperatures just below the peak of 42.2 degrees Celsius they reached on Tuesday, when Canadian Frank Dancevic passed out and accused organisers forcing players to play in “inhumane” conditions.

Ivan Dodig became the 10th player to retire in the first three days of the tournament, though, when he was unable to complete his match against Bosnian Damir Dzumhur on one of the exposed outer courts.

“Today, 30 minutes after the match I could not walk,” Croatian Dodig said. “There were 10 people around me. I was thinking I could maybe even die here. I think we deserve that somebody listens to the voice of the players.”

Djokovic needed 107 minutes to take the second step on the path he hopes will take him to a fourth successive title by thrashing Argentine Leonardo Mayer 6-0, 6-4, 6-4 on Rod Laver Arena.

Serena, in the hunt for her sixth title, also hotfooted it into the third round with a one-sided 6-1, 6-2 demolition of Vesna Dolonc before revealing her own particular visualisation technique for dealing with the heat.

“I just pretend I’m in Hawaii riding a wave, that’s all I can do,” she said after setting up an encounter with Daniela Hantuchova.

Serena has seen off at least a couple of generations of younger women looking to knock her off the top of the game and 16-year-old Belinda Bencic is tipped to be in the vanguard of the next wave.

The Swiss qualifier, coached by the mother of three-time Australian Open champion Martina Hingis, started poorly in her match against fourth seed Li Na but after losing the first seven games, rallied to force the second set into a tiebreak.

“She played exactly like Martina Hingis, I feel,” Li said after her 6-0, 7-6 (7-5) win.

Djokovic was forced to retire from a match against Andy Roddick in another Melbourne heatwave five years ago but proved against Mayer that he was an altogether stronger player than in 2009.

“You don’t want to spend too much time in the heat. You want to try to win as quick as possible,” the second seed, who next faces Denis Istomin, told reporters.

“I prepared myself mentally for that. It’s not just physically. Mentally you need to be tough enough to not give up and not think about what conditions can do to you.”

Tomas Berdych, again sporting his distinctive blue and white striped shirt, was the first man into the third round when he hammered Frenchman Kenny De Schepper 6-4, 6-1, 6-3.

France’s Richard Gasquet soon joined Berdych by beating Nikolay Davydenko 7-6 (7-3), 6-4, 6-4 in match that featured a stunning point.

Third seed David Ferrer continued his progress through a section of the draw further weakened by the by the 6-4, 3-6, 6-3, 3-6, 6-3 defeat of 14th seed Mikhail Youzhny at the hands of Florian Mayer on Wednesday.

Ferrer’s unrelenting fighting spirit put him in good stead in his match over Frenchman Adrian Mannarino, who won the second set before wilting in the heat and going down 7-6 (7-2), 5-7, 6-0, 6-3.

Two-time Grand Slam champion Pat Rafter’s comeback to the big-time after retiring 13 years ago lasted just 73 minutes when he and his former Davis Cup teammate Lleyton Hewitt lost in straight sets.

“I was pretty nervous, I was copping it in the locker room, we were having a lot of fun - at my expense,” Rafter quipped in a courtside interview after playing out the twilight match on a steamy day at Melbourne Park. “A lot of my mates were saying, ‘Don’t cramp’.

David Ferrer cools off with an ice pack

Yuki Bhambri and his New Zealand partner Michael Venus recorded a straight-set win on their Grand Slam debut but Divij Sharan’s campaign ended in the first round.

The 21-year-old Yuki and his Kiwi partner defeated Spaniards Roberto Bautista Agut and Daniel Gimeno-Traver 6-2, 7-5 in their opening round contest, which lasted one hour and 11 minutes.

Yuki and Venus, who won wild card play-off tournament to enter the first major of the season, now have a tough job at hand now as they face 10th seeded Horea Tecau and Jean-Julien Roger in the next round.

Also advancing to the second round was veteran Indian Mahesh Bhupathi and his American partner Rajeev Ram. They came from behind to beat Santiago Giraldo from Columbia and Joao Sousa from Portugal 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 in two hours and two minutes. They now lock horns against the second-seeded pair of Alexander Peya and Bruno Soares.

However, the defeat of left-handed Divij denied India an all-win day. Divij and his Taipei partner Yen-Husn Lu lost 2-6, 4-6 to Johan Brunstrom from Sweden and Frederik Nielsen from Denmark.

Day III Results

Men’s singles

Round II
Novak Djokovic (2, Srb) bt Leonardo Mayer (Arg) 6-0, 6-4, 6-4; David Ferrer (3, Esp) bt Adrian Mannarino (Fra) 7-6 (2), 5-7, 6-0, 6-3; Tomas Berdych (7, Cze) bt Kenny De Schepper (Fra) 6-4, 6-1, 6-3; Stanislas Wawrinka (8, Sui) bt Alejandro Falla (Col) 6-3, 6-3, 6-7 (4), 6-4; Richard Gasquet (9, Fra) bt Nikolay Davydenko (Rus) 7-6 (3), 6-4, 6-4; Florian Mayer (Ger) bt Mikhail Youzhny (14, Rus) 6-4, 3-6, 6-3, 3-6, 6-3; Fabio Fognini (15, Ita) bt Jarkko Nieminen (Fin) 7-5, 6-4, 3-6, 6-2; Tommy Robredo (17, Esp) bt Julien Benneteau (Fra) 6-3, 6-7 (4), 6-1, 7-6 (6); Kevin Anderson (19, SA) bt Dominic Thiem (Aut) 6-4, 6-3, 6-4; Jerzy Janowicz (20, Pol) bt Pablo Andujar (Esp) 4-6, 7-6 (3), 7-6 (5), 6-3; Sam Querrey (US) bt Ernests Gulbis (23, Lat) 6-2, 6-3, 6-4; Jeremy Chardy (29, Fra) bt Alexandr Dolgopolov (Ukr) 7-5, 7-6 (5), 6-7 (3), 7-6 (5); Denis Istomin (Uzb) bt Dmitry Tursunov (30, Rus) 7-6 (3), 4-6, 6-1, 6-4; Damir Dzumhur (Bos) bt Ivan Dodig (32, Cro) 4-6, 4-6, 6-3, 4-1, retired

Women’s singles
Round II
Serena Williams (1, US) bt Vesna Dolonc (Srb) 6-1, 6-2; Li Na (4, Chn) bt Belinda Bencic (Sui) 6-0, 7-6 (5); Angelique Kerber (9, Ger) bt Alla Kudryavtseva (Rus) 6-4, 6-2; Ana Ivanovic (14, Srb) bt Annika Beck (Ger) 6-1, 6-2; Monica Niculescu (Rom) bt Sabine Lisicki (15, Ger) 2-6, 6-2, 6-2; Samantha Stosur (17, Aus) bt Tsvetana Pironkova (Bul) 6-2, 6-0; Casey Dellacqua (Aus) bt Kirsten Flipkens (18, Bel) 6-3, 6-0; Ekaterina Makarova (22, Rus) bt Irina Falconi (US) 6-2, 7-5; Lucie Safarova (26, Cze) bt Lucie Hradecka (Cze) 6-7 (4), 6-3, 6-0; Flavia Pennetta (28, Ita) bt Monica Puig (Pue) 6-3, 6-4; Eugenie Bouchard (30, Can) bt Virginie Razzano (Fra) 6-2, 7-6 (10); Daniela Hantuchova (31, Svk) bt Karolina Pliskova (Cze) 6-3, 3-6, 12-10
Men’s doubles
Round I
Yuki Bhambri /Michael Venus (Ind /NZ) bt Roberto Bautista Agut /Daniel Gimeno-Traver (Esp) 6-2, 7-5; Johan Brunstrom / Frederik Nielsen (Swe/Den) bt Lu Yen-Hsun / Divij Sharan (Tai/Ind) 6-2, 6-4

Note: Seeded players and Indians only