Serena knocks down 500th

MELBOURNE, Australia — After tumbling on the next-to-last point of the match, Serena Williams got up and hit a backhand winner down the line to finish her second-round match at the Australian Open and her 500th career win.

With the 6-0, 6-4 victory over Barbora Zahlavova Strycova today, Williams extended her winning streak to 16 matches at Melbourne Park, where she won back-to-back titles in 2009 and 2010 but couldn't play last year due to injury.

Her participation had been in doubt again after she sprained her ankle two weeks ago. "It's fine. I just have wobbly ankles," Williams, 30, said. "I wasn't meant to be a ballerina or anything."

It was her 500th win on tour, something she'd wanted to achieve since her older sister Venus passed the milestone.

"I knew I had to get there too, because I do everything she does," said Serena, now 500-104 as a pro. Venus is 598-147.

Meanwhile, Maria Sharapova reached the third round after just two hours on court. She beat American Jamie Hampton in 64 minutes, 6-0, 6-1, two days after beating Gisela Dulko by the same margin.

Top-ranked Caroline Wozniacki, aiming for her first major title, beat Anna Tatishvili 6-1, 7-6 (7-4).

On the men's side, No. 2 Rafael Nadal advanced without trouble from his injured right knee or from Tommy Haas in a 6-4, 6-3, 6-4 win. "It was a positive match but not that demanding," Nadal said.

Tampa resident John Isner had 43 aces in his 4-6, 6-3, 2-6, 7-6 (7-5), 10-8 win over David Nalbandian, who grew enraged when an official refused to overrule the chair umpire's decision to decline a review of a line call late in the fifth set.

Serena knocks down 500th 01/18/12 [Last modified: Thursday, January 19, 2012 12:13am]

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