All of the seeds breathed a huge sigh of relief on day three of the women's singles at the Australian Open, as after the carnage of the earlier days, none of them were eliminated today. Not that it was all completely plain sailing for the seeds though, especially for world number two Maria Sharapova who came perilously close to the trapdoor.
The 27-year-old Russian came through a nervy three-setter against her compatriot Alexandra Panova, despite losing the second set and hence raising the prospect of an early exit. Early on in the match there were few suggestions that a shock might be on the cards from the world number 150, as the five-time Grand Slam winner stormed through a one-sided first set 6-1. Sharapova's troubles began in set two as she ended up losing the set 6-4 to set up the decider. A close tussle ensued in the third set, including the favourite surviving two match points against her, before her big match temperament shone through as she unleashed two forehand winners, to help on her way to a 7-5 margin by the end. It had been a close call for the woman who lies second on the all-time women's prize money list, but a run of six games out of the last seven in the match saw her through.
Number three seed Simona Halep from Romania had no such scares against her opponent Jarmila Gajdosova of Australia. Not even home crowd support could rally the Aussie as she went down to a straights sets 6-2 6-2 reversal. Similarly, the Wimbledon runner-up Eugenie Bouchard (seeded seven) was far too good for Kiki Bertens of the Netherlands, losing just three games in the match. She had more troubles during the post-match interviews when a male presenter embarrassingly asked her to "give us a twirl", causing her a little discomfort as she proceeded to oblige.
Other seeds to progress comfortably into the third round in straight sets included number ten seed Ekaterina Makarova of Russia, Sara Errani (number 14) of Italy and China's Peng Shuai (number 21). Peng was particularly unforgiving against Slovakia's Magdalena Rybarikova as she sailed through her match 6-1 6-1.
The major talking point in the dressing rooms after yesterday's action in the women's singles draw, seems to have been the outfit worn by world number one Serena Williams during her first round victory over Alison van Uytvanck of Belgium. Her backless neon green dress with pink highlights seems to have come out trumps in the fashion stakes as her fellow players have given it a seal of approval. Bouchard tweeted "love Serena's outfit", while former Australian Open champion Victoria Azarenka agreed on Twitter by sending the message: "Serena is rocking that outfit!" #Celebrities #Tennis