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Serena sets Aussie Open record; Li survives

Melbourne, Australia (SportsNetwork.com) - Top seed and five-time titlist Serena Williams was an easy winner Friday in third-round play at the Australian Open, while last year's runner-up, Li Na, was put to the test in brutally hot conditions at Melbourne Park.

Williams wasted little time disposing of No. 31 Daniela Hantuchova, 6-3, 6-3, to surpass Margaret Court's record for match wins at the tournament in the Open Era with 61.

The reigning U.S. and French Open champion won 74 percent of her first-service points and served 10 aces to Hantuchova's two in the 80-minute rout at Rod Laver Arena.

The fourth-seeded Li, who lost to two-time reigning champion Victoria Azarenka in last year's Aussie finale, was nearly stunned by No. 26 Lucie Safarova, but rallied to pull out a 1-6, 7-6 (7-2), 6-3 victory in two hours, 37 minutes.

Also moving on Friday were No. 9 Angelique Kerber, who ousted upstart American Alison Riske, 6-3, 6-4, and No. 28 Flavia Pennetta, a 6-1, 7-5 winner over Mona Barthel. Kerber and Pennetta will square off in the fourth round.

Other straight-set winners were Ekaterina Makarova and Eugenie Bouchard. The 22nd-seeded Makarova downed Monica Niculescu, 6-4, 6-4, and the 30th-seeded Bouchard cruised past American Lauren Davis, 6-2, 6-2.

01/16 23:44:46 ET