MELBOURNE, Australia — Serena Williams got on and off court as quickly as she could in the scorching heat Friday, registering another record with win No. 61 at the Australian Open as she advanced to the fourth round with a 6-3, 6-3 victory over Daniela Hantuchova of Slovakia.
The five-time Australian Open champion later withdrew from the doubles, avoiding any extra exposure to the blazing sun during the once-in-a-century heat wave that was gripping Melbourne for a fourth straight day.
Two-time finalist Li Na of China, the major threat to the top-ranked Williams in the top half of the women’s draw, had to save a match point before coming back to beat No. 26 Lucie Safarova of the Czech Republic 1-6, 7-6 (7-2), 6-3.
Williams equaled Margaret Court’s Australian Open mark of 60 wins with her second-round victory, and beat that in the third round when she also matched Lindsay Davenport’s record of 69 main-draw matches here in the Open era. That means Williams will set another record just by showing up Sunday against the winner of the match between 2011 U.S. Open champ Sam Stosur of Australia and former No. 1 Ana Ivanovic of Serbia.
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“It was a tough match … it’s definitely hot, but you have to be ready to play,” Williams said. “And then you have to prepare yourself mentally, too.”
On the men’s side, third-seeded David Ferrer of Spain advanced to the fourth round for a 10th consecutive Grand Slam when he beat No. 29 Jeremy Chardy of France 6-2, 7-6 (7-5), 6-2.
Fifth-seeded Juan Martin del Potro of Argentina was eliminated 4-6, 6-3, 5-7, 6-4, 7-5 by Roberto Bautista Agut of Spain for the biggest upset of the event.