Melbourne, Australia (Sports Network) - Top seed and defending champion Victoria Azarenka was on the ropes in her third-round match at the Australian Open, but she overcame American Jamie Hampton in three sets.
Azarenka's 6-4, 4-6, 6-2 win came only after the native of Belarus rallied against Hampton, who was suffering from chronic back problems during the match.
Hampton, ranked 63rd in the world, was ahead 2-1 in the final set, but she couldn't convert key break point opportunities and suffered 47 unforced errors. Even being down 4-2 in that last set, Hampton raced to a 40-0 lead in the seventh game, but Azarenka saved all three break point chances and then finished off the match in 2 hours, 9 minutes.
In another third-round encounter, 14th-seeded Russian Maria Kirilenko disposed of 20th-seeded Belgian Yanina Wickmayer, 7-6 (7-4), 6-3.
Russian Svetlana Kuznetsova, a two-time major champion, defeated Spain's Carla Suarez Navarro, 6-2, 4-6, 6-3 to advance to the round of 16 as well.