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Williams shines as big guns in action on centre court

A couple of seeds were knocked out of the ASB Classic women's tennis tournament on day two in Auckland, but not Venus Williams, who came through her test against Victoria Azarenka with flying colours.

American fan favourite Williams was in outstanding form in the feature match of the day, which lived up to all expectations, beating Belarusian Azarenka 6-3 1-6 6-3.

The battle between the two former world number ones was an epic affair, with players battling it out for two hours 10 minutes of top-notch tennis.

Williams will play against 2017 Classic champion Lauren Davis in the next round, with the match to be played on Thursday.

Williams, the seven-time grand slam champion and a regular at the ASB Classic, is aiming to claim her second title in Auckland following her win in 2015, beating Wozniacki in the final.

It could be the last time Williams plays in Auckland as the 38-year-old nears closer to the end of her glittering 25-year career.

Azarenka is continuing her long return to tennis following the birth of her son Leo in 2016 and long running custody battle that was resolved early last year.

Azarenka, the two-time Australian Open champion, had only played at the ASB Classic once before in 2006, losing in the second round.

Earlier, fourth seed Croatian Petra Martic was knocked out by the young American Sofia Kenin in three sets and the eighth seed Alison Van Uytvanck of Belgium had to retire with an ankle injury.

Defending champion and second seeded Julia Goerges of Germany beat Sweden's Johanna Larsson 6-0 6-4.

Fifth seed Barbora Strycova of the Czech Republic survived a challenge from American Taylor Townsend, winning a topsy turvey battle 6-2 6-7 6-3.

Kirsten Flipkens of Belgium beat American Sachia Vickery 6-2 6-2 and Su-Wei Hsieh of Taipei beat Polona Hercog of Slovenia 6-2 6-3.
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