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Australian Open 2011: Venus Williams, Roger Federer both struggle to win

Australian Open 2011 is underway down under. Venus Williams, the ladies 4th seed, and Roger Federer, the men's defending champion, each had tough matches on Wednesday. But the pair did advance.

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Roger Federer of Switzerland reacts during his match against Gilles Simon of France at the Australian Open tennis tournament in Melbourne January 19.

David Gray/Reuters

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Usually, it's the heat, not a second round opponent, that gets to a seeded player in the Australian Open tennis championships.

But that wasn't the case Wednesday in the year's first major match for both Venus Williams and Roger Federer.

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Fourth-seeded Venus Williams had to overcome an upper leg injury to defeat Sandra Zahlavova of the Czech Republic, 6-7, 6-0, 6-4. Williams will now face German Andrea Petkovic in the third round.

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As for men's defending champion Roger Federer, his second round opponent has given him trouble in the past. Gilles Simon of France defeated the second-seeded Federer in their two previous meetings.

Wednesday, Simon gave the world's former top-ranked player all he could handle. Tied at two sets apiece in the fifth set, Federer finally broke Simon in the sixth game and prevailed, 6-2, 6-3, 4-6, 4-6, 6-3.

Federer will next meet Xavier Malisse of Belgium in the third round.

High temperatures, which have played a major role in past Australian Opens, has not been a factor so far. While torrential rains have inundated parts of eastern Australia, the current summer weather pattern has kept the heat down.