MELBOURNE:Win No. 30 in Justine Henin's current streak gave her a few things to work on in her next match at the Australian Open.
Top-ranked Henin, who skipped Melbourne last year because she was going through a divorce and had to default in the 2006 final because of a stomach illness, needed four match points to clinch Wednesday's 6-1, 7-5 second-round win over Russian Olga Poutchkova.
She was broken at love when serving for the match at 5-3, then set up double match point with a curling forehand winner in the next game before Poutchkova ran off four points to level at 5-all.
That's when Henin, who has lost only once since May, shifted gears.
The 25-year-old Belgian star held at love for 6-5 and then, with Poutchkova only a point from forcing a tiebreaker, won three straight points to pressure the 20-year-old Russian.
Poutchkova gave Henin another match point with a double-fault and then sent a forehand long.
Henin was circumspect, despite getting broken three times in a swirling breeze in the second set.
"I played a very good first set, then I lost some intensity," Henin said. "She took her chances. It was tough at the end."
The pair had never met, but Henin knew what to expect.
"I never like to play a player I don't know that much," she said. "They always go for it, they're playing the No. 1 player in the world so they've got nothing to lose and I know it."
She next faces 25th-seeded Francesca Schiavone of Italy, a 6-2, 6-3 winner over Germany's Angelique Kerber. Patty Schnyder, seeded 15th and a semifinalist here in 2004, went down to Australia's Casey Dellacqua, 4-6, 7-5, 8-6.
Two US men lost early on Wednesday.
Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga followed his opening-round upset over No. 9 Andy Murray by hitting 54 winners and 14 aces in a 6-4, 7-6 (4), 6-2 win over Sam Warburg.
No. 24 Jarkko Nieminen of Finland beat Jesse Levine 6-2, 7-5, 7-6 (2).
Henin, who won the French and U.S. Opens and season-ending championship last season after skipping the Australian Open, has not lost a match since her semifinal upset to Marion Bartoli at Wimbledon.
Venus Williams, who beat Bartoli in the Wimbledon final, played her first match in three years at the Australian Open on Tuesday night.
She downed China's Yan Zi 6-2, 7-5 but hit 29 unforced errors and only 19 winners.
"Errors happen," Williams said. "That's tennis."
She was a first-round loser here in 2006 and missed last year because of injuries, watching from a distance when sister Serena made a stunning run to the title.
Serena Williams, unseeded and ranked No. 81 when she beat top-seeded Maria Sharapova in last year's final, played China's Yuan Meng in the second round later Wednesday.
No. 5 Sharapova has the toughest second-round match of the highly ranked players, facing 2000 Australian champion Lindsay Davenport in the night match on center court.
Davenport is in her first Grand Slam and only fifth tournament since returning to the tour following the birth last June of her son, Jagger. She has a 19-1 record with three titles in that time, but needed three sets to beat Italy's Sara Errani in the first round.
Roger Federer wasted no time in the start of his bid for a third consecutive Australian Open title.
Sick and tired of talk about his stomach bug, Federer wanted to show he was in Grand Slam form.
He left no doubts with a 6-0, 6-3, 6-0 win over Argentina's Diego Hartfield on Tuesday night. In eight previous trips to Melbourne, he had never swept the opening set.
Federer hadn't played a competitive match in two months. He withdrew from the Kooyong exhibition last week after being told by doctors he had food poisoning, causing speculation about his fitness.
"I'm 100 per cent OK," he said. "I could have maybe played on Saturday, but I didn't want all the fuss _ the media, analyzing my game, thinking they know best and all that."
Unable to get his usual fine-tuning done at Kooyong, Federer had to settle for doing it in real time. He tested his entire arsenal.
"Everything was working perfectly," said Federer, who is 26-1 in the last four Australian Opens and has figured in the last 10 Grand Slam finals. "I never expect a result this extreme obviously, but I was playing well in practice, moving well, serving well, and conditions were perfect."
Just before Federer went on court, things turned violent among spectators during a match between Greece's Konstantinos Economidis and seventh-seeded Fernando Gonzalez of Chile, last year's losing finalist.
Tournament officials said play was interrupted for five minutes while police subdued three people with pepper spray. Five were evicted and banned from the rest of the tournament.
On the bottom half of the women's draw, No. 2 Svetlana Kuznetsova, No. 4 Ana Ivanovic, No. 6 Anna Chakvetadze, No. 9 Daniela Hantuchova and No. 14 Nadia Petrova all advanced Tuesday.
On the men's side, No. 3 Novak Djokovic beat Benjamin Becker 6-0, 6-2, 7-6 (5) and No. 10 David Nalbandian recovered from back spasms that forced him out of the Kooyong exhibition in a routine win over Australian Robert Smeets.
Australia's top prospect, former U.S. Open and Wimbledon champion Lleyton Hewitt, had little trouble beating Steve Darcis of Belgium, advancing with No. 12 James Blake, 2005 champion Marat Safin and 2006 runner-up Marcos Baghdatis, who defeated 2002 champion Thomas Johansson.
Rafael Nadal plays Florent Serra on Wednesday and Andy Roddick takes on Michael Berrer.