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Williams, Federer stamp class

By The Assam Tribune

MELBOURNE, Jan 20: Serena Williams and Roger Federer stamped their class on the Australian Open on Wednesday as a top anti-corruption official criticised tennis� efforts against match-fixing following a major controversy this week.

As tennis� corruption-fighting body was slammed as �opaque and secretive�, Williams barged past Hsieh Su-Wei 6-1, 6-2 to reach the third round as she seeks a record-equalling 22nd major title.

Williams eased lingering concerns over the state of her injured knee as she obliterated the Taiwanese, even pulling off possibly her first ever round-the-net shot for good measure.

�It�s always cool to do something fresh and new. I don�t know if I have done that,� said the American world number one, who showed no signs of discomfort from her knee.

�I moved much better, so slowly but surely feeling a little bit better,� she added.

Federer, who is trying to extend his record number of Grand Slam crowns to 18, then dismantled his 35th-ranked practice partner Alexandr Dolgopolov 6-3, 7-5, 6-1.

The all-time Grand Slam king came unstuck in the third round last year, when he was shocked by Andreas Seppi, and he is wary of another upset with Grigor �Baby Fed� Dimitrov up next.

�It�s the least I expect to be in the third round of a Slam, obviously, so I�m pumped up, playing well, feeling good,� Federer said.

�But there�s always a danger, you know. Like last year the third round was the end for me, so I hope to go further this time.�

The straight forward wins pleased the crowd at Rod Laver Arena, where early rain gave way to bright sun as attention refocused on tennis after the match-fixing controversy overshadowed the first two days.

After an explosive report claimed some top players were suspected of being serial match-fixers, Chris Eaton, director of integrity at the International Centre of Sport Security, said corruption was commonplace in tennis�s lower tiers.

�In the second and lower levels, manipulation indicators are heavy and regularly occurring,� Eaton told AFP, criticising the Tennis Integrity Unit (TIU) which is tasked with fighting corruption.

�Integrity is by definition open and transparent. The TIU is neither... By operating in the shadows they fail to practice what they preach,� he said, calling for a �new independent and integrated integrity model�. Also on court on Wednesday was five-time Grand Slam champion Maria Sharapova, who had little difficulty dispatching 105th-ranked Aliaksandra Sasnovich 6-2, 6-1. � AFP

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