Serena cruises into last 32 with 500th career win

    World No. 12 Serena Williams has won the Australian Open women's singles title five times, an Open era record.

    Story highlights

    • Five-time Australian Open champion Serena Williams secures her 500th career win
    • Williams into the third round in Melbourne, along second seed Petra Kvitova
    • Former champion Maria Sharapova safely through, as is seventh seed Vera Zvonareva
    • Ninth seed Marion Bartoli and German 14th seed Sabine Lisicki also advance
    American tennis star Serena Williams recorded a landmark 500th career victory on Thursday when she beat the Czech Republic's Barbora Zahlavova Strycova 6-0 6-4 in the second round of the Australian Open.
    The 13-time grand slam winner survived a second-set rally from world No. 49 Strycova to wrap up victory in 68 minutes and emulate the achievement of her older sister Venus -- who has 598 overall, but is not playing in Melbourne.
    "It's like the ultimate," said 12th seed Serena, who made her professional debut in 1995 at the age of 13 and picked up her first win against Russia's Elena Likhovteva at a WTA Tour event in Chicago in 1997.
    "It's really, really cool. The first thing I asked, of course, is there anyone that achieved a thousand? I guess not. I never will get there, either. But it's really cool. Five hundred is a lot of matches to play, let alone to win, so it's pretty cool."
    In fact, Martina Navratilova is the leading woman in the post-1968 Open era with 1,442 career victories, while the Williams sisters -- who have battled serious injuries and illness in recent years -- do not feature in the top 10.
    Serena, who has won this event an Open era record five times, will next play 92nd-ranked Greta Arn after the Hungarian earned a shock 6-2 3-6 10-8 triumph against Slovakian 17th seed Dominika Cibulkova.
    Second seed Petra Kvitova was made to work hard for her win, emerging with a 6-2 2-6 6-4 victory over Spanish two-time grand slam quarterfinalist Carla Suarez Navarro.
    The 2011 Wimbledon champion, who will move above Denmark's Caroline Wozniacki at the top of the world rankings if she wins her second grand slam, advanced to a last-32 clash with Russian 27th seed Maria Kirilenko.
    "She played very well in the second set," the 21-year-old Kvitova told reporters. "It was very tough for me to get back in the third. I mean, she was a very, very good opponent."
    World No. 29 Kirilenko battled past 102nd-ranked Canadian Aleksandra Wozniak 6-4 1-6 6-2.
    Her fourth-seeded compatriot Maria Sharapova crushed American qualifier Jamie Hampton 6-0 6-1 in just 64 minutes.
    The 2008 champion will next play German 30th seed Angelique Kerber, who won 7-5 6-1 against Canada's world No.91 Stephanie Dubois.
    Seventh seed Vera Zvonareva eased past the Czech Republic's 59th-ranked Lucie Hradecka 6-1 7-6 (7-3), and last year's semifinalist will take on fellow Russian Ekaterina Makarova -- who beat Estonia's 25th seed Kaia Kanepi 6-2 7-5.
    French ninth seed Marion Bartoli ousted Australia's former world No. 4 Jelena Dokic 6-3 6-2 to earn a clash with China's 38th-ranked Zheng Jie, who beat Italian 23rd seed Roberta Vinci 6-4 6-2.
    German 14th seed Sabine Lisicki will face Russia's No. 18 Svetlana Kuznetsova after their respective wins over Israel's Shahar Peer and American Sloane Stephens.
    Former world No. 1 Ana Ivanovic will meet 66th-ranked American Vania King, who came from behind to dump out Russian 15th seed Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 5-7 6-3 6-4.
    Serbia's Ivanovic, the 21st seed, cruised to a 6-2 6-3 victory against Dutch world No. 91 Michaella Krajicek.
    Russian 29th seed Nadia Petrova also exited, losing 6-2 6-2 to Italy's world No. 48 Sara Errani.
    Errani will play Romania's 59th-ranked Sorana Cirstea, who followed up her shock first-round win over U.S. Open champion Samantha Stosur by beating Poland's Urszula Radwanska 6-1 2-6 6-3.