Serena clinches record Australian Open victory

02:45, Jan 17 2014
Gael Monfils
GAEL MONFILS: it's thirsty work on court.
Kirsten Flipkens
KIRSTEN FLIPKENS: Water's just not doing the job.
Rafael Nadal
RAFAEL NADAL: So hot changes of underwe... Oh, make that bandanas, are required.
Thanasi Kokkinakis
THANASI KOKKINAKIS: Too hot to look.
Gael Monfils
GAEL MONFILS: Fatigued for Auckland, fatigued in Melbourne.
Roberto Bautista Agut
ROBERTO BAUTISTA AGUT: Two cold water bottles better than one.
Australian Open Melbourne
ALL WEATHER: A lightning storm offered some respite from the heat in Melbourne.
Jerzy Janowicz
JERZY JANOWICZ: Cool off any way you can.
Maria Sharapova
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Ice packs, ice baths, ice cold drinks. Whatever it takes to cool down in 43 degree heat.

Five-time champion Serena Williams has now won more matches at the Australian Open than any other woman, notching career win No. 61 on Friday as she advanced to the fourth round with a 6-3, 6-3 victory over Daniela Hantuchova.

On another scorching day at Melbourne Park, Williams converted her fourth match point on No. 31-seeded Hantuchova's serve to finish it off in 1 hour, 20 minutes, keeping her time on court to a minimum during the heat wave. She has only dropped 12 games in three straight-set wins this week.

It was Williams' 24th consecutive win on the tour back to August, and improved her career record to 61-8 at the Australian Open.

2014 Australian Open gallery
VENUS WILLIAMS: bowed out early in the first round.
2014 Australian Open gallery
EKATERINA MAKAROVA: celebrates her surprise win over Venus Williams.
2014 Australian Open gallery
DAVID FERRER: won through to the second round.
Nivak Djokovic gallery
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: got a first round win over Lukas Lacko.
Novak Djokovic
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Shirt changes likely common at this year's Australian Open.
Serena Williams
SERENA WILLIAMS: overpowered Ashleigh Barty in the first round.
Marcos Baghdatis
MARCOS BAGHDATIS: shows flexibility's important for a pro tennis player.
Yanina Wickmayer
YANINA WICKMAYER: beat Dinah Pfizenmaier in the first round.
Sabine Lisicki
SABINE LISICKI: had a straightforward 6-2 6-1 win over Mirjana Lucic-Baroni in the first round.
Caroline Wozniacki gallery
CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: celebrates winning her first round match against Lourdes Dominguez Lino.
Caroline Wozniacki gallery
HARD IN THE HEAT: An official attends to a ball boy who collapsed during the men's singles match between Daniel Gimeno-Traver of Spain and Milos Raonic.
Caroline Wozniacki gallery
MILOS RAONIC: serves on an outside court with the Melbourne city skyline in the background.
Andy Murray gallery
ANDY MURRAY: had a comprehensive win in his first round match against Japan Go Soeda.
Marina Erakovic gallery
MARINA ERAKOVIC: hits a forehand during her first round match with Sorana Cirstea.
Serena Williams gallery
SERENA WILLIAMS: untroubled in the second round match.
Novak Djokovic gallery
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: hits a forehand during his second round match with Leonardo Mayer.
Roger Federer
ROGER FEDERER: reaches to hit a return to Blaz Kavcic.
Roger Federer
RAFAEL NADAL: fires down a serve to Thanasi Kokkinakis.
Andy Murray
ANDY MURRAY: trailing 5-1 in the third set, Murray wins 23 straight points to close out a straight sets victory over Vincent Millot.
Victoria Azarenka
VICTORIA AZARENKA'S: personalised shoes during her match against Czech Barbora Zahlavova Strycova.
Australian Fanatics
'FANATICS':cheer during Nick Kyrgios' match against Benoit Paire.
Maria Sharapova gallery
Maria Sharapova hits a backhand during her third round match against Alize Cornet.
Roger Federer gallery
Roger Federer has won through to the last 16 of the Australian Open in straight sets.
2014 Australian Open gallery
Li Na in quarterfinal action against Flavia Pennetta.
2014 Australian Open gallery
Eugenie Bouchard of Canada celebrates defeating Ana Ivanovic in the quarterfinals.
Agnieszka Radwanska gallery
Agnieszka Radwanska is through to the Australian Open semifinals.
2014 Australian Open gallery
Agnieszka Radwanska, left, shakes hands with Victoria Azarenka after their quarterfinal.
2014 Australian Open gallery
Grigor Dimitrov, left, and Rafael Nadal speak at the net after their epic last-eight clash.
Roger Federer
Roger Federer reacts after match point against Andy Murray.
Li Na gallery
Li Na celebrates her semifinal win over Eugenie Bouchard.
Rafa Nadal
Rafa Nadal crushed Roger Federer in straight sets, and will play Stanislas Wawrinka for his 14th grand slam title in the Australian Open final.
Roger Federer
Roger Federer heads to the Australian Open exit.
Li Na
THIRD TIME LUCKY: Li Na kisses the Daphne Akhurst trophy after defeating Dominika Cibulkova in the Australian Open final.
Li Na and Dominika Cibulkova
Runner-up Dominika Cibulkova and champion Li Na during the trophy presentation.
Dominika Cibulkova
Dominika Cibulkova pumps her fist after winning a point in the Australian Open final.
Li Na
Li Na stretches for a two-handed volley in the women's final.
Rafa Nadal
Rafa Nadal receives treatment on his injured back during the men's singles final.
Stanislas Wawrinka
Stanislas Wawrinka reaches for a forehand during the men's singles final.
Stanislas Wawrinka
Stanislas Wawrinka kisses the Australian Open trophy after his first grand slam victory.
Stanislas Wawrinka
Stanislas Wawrinka sits with the Australian Open trophy at the post-final press conference.

The No. 1-ranked Williams equaled Margaret Court's Australian Open mark of 60 wins with her second-round victory, and on Friday matched Lindsay Davenport's record of 69 main-draw matches here in the Open era.

That means she'll set another record just by showing up on Sunday, against the winner of the night match between 2011 US Open champion Sam Stosur and former No. 1-ranked Ana Ivanovic.

The temperature hit 39 Celsius (102 Fahrenheit) during Williams' match and was expected to climb to 44 C (111 F) later Friday, with match suspensions a possibility on outer courts for the second consecutive day.

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Serena Williams
FAVOURITE THROUGH: Serena Williams has eased through to the fourth round of the Australian Open.

"It was a tough match ... it's definitely hot, but you have to be ready to play," she said. "And then you have to prepare yourself mentally, too."

Seven of Williams' nine victories over Hantuchova have come at Grand Slam events - Hantuchova's only win was here in the third round in 2006.

Rod Laver Arena was about three-quarters full for the match, though it was a quiet crowd - people seemed to be expending more energy fanning themselves with programs and newspapers than applauding points on the court.

There were a few shouts of encouragement when Williams broke early in the second set, but the crowd grew more vocal when Hantuchova broke back in the sixth game to make it 3-all.

No. 9 Angelique Kerber advanced earlier with a 6-3, 6-4 win over American Alison Riske, and said her main aim had been to "get off the court before it became really hot." Kerber will next play No. 28 Flavia Pennetta, who advanced 6-1, 7-5 over Mona Barthel of Germany.

In an early men's result, Florian Mayer beat No. 20 Jerzy Janowicz 7-5, 6-2, 6-2.

Matches on outer courts were suspended for four hours on Thursday afternoon when the Extreme Heat Policy was invoked for the first time in the tournament. Lightning and rain caused further delays later in the evening. Maria Sharapova advanced after playing 3 hours in the blazing sun, before the roof was closed on Rod Laver Arena.

Two-time defending champion Victoria Azarenka won her night match indoors. The loaded top half of the men's draw lost a contender when No. 5 Juan Martin del Petro lost a second-round match that ended at 1:20 a.m. Friday. Rafael Nadal, Andy Murray and Roger Federer all progressed earlier on day four.

AP