sport

Azarenka on course in Australia

Defending champion Victoria Azarenka cruised into the Australian Open second round after a straight sets win over Barbora Zahlavova Strycova.

The 24-year-old Belarusian was in fine touch for most of the match, winning seven straight games in its mid-section to take the first set 6-1 and secure a break in the second.

Her opponent at least found enough resolve to break back and prevent a total walkover, but she lost her own serve immediately and then the match 6-4, with Azarenka finishing things off with a fine cross-court backhand, her most lethal weapon on the day.

"I feel pretty good, it was a good match today, the second set was competitive and she was defending so well," she said when interviewed on the Rod Laver Arena after the match.

"I feel I was playing good and am glad to close it out in two sets. I always had to adapt to every shot.

"I enjoy being here so much and I hope to keep going here."

Azarenka's next assignment will be against either Bojana Jovanovski or Yvonne Meusburger.