Tennis: Raonic races into third round of Australian Open; Pliskova, Konta and Wozniacki also safely through

Milos Raonic of Canada celebrates his victory over Dustin Brown of Germany in their men's singles match on day two of the Australian Open tennis tournament in Melbourne on Jan 17, 2017.
Milos Raonic of Canada celebrates his victory over Dustin Brown of Germany in their men's singles match on day two of the Australian Open tennis tournament in Melbourne on Jan 17, 2017. PHOTO: AFP

MELBOURNE (REUTERS/AFP) - Third seed Milos Raonic continued his machine-like advance through the Australian Open on Thursday, easing past Gilles Muller 6-3, 6-4, 7-6 (7-4) to reach the third round.

The big-serving Canadian, a semi-finalist at Melbourne Park last year, was clinical on a sun-bathed Margaret Court Arena, firing 21 aces and breaking the serve and volley specialist from Luxembourg once in each of the first two sets.

Raonic will next play French 25th seed Gilles Simon for a place in the fourth round.

In women's action, fifth seed Karolina Pliskova dished out a 6-0, 6-2 lesson to hapless Russian qualifier Anna Blinkova in the second round. She has dropped only four games so far in two matches.

British ninth seed Johanna Konta, who made the semi-finals last year, doused the threat from promising 19-year-old Japanese Naomi Osaka 6-4, 6-2.

Denmark's Caroline Wozniacki dismantled Croatia's Donna Vekic 6-1, 6-3, barely putting a foot wrong.

Both players are angling for a maiden Grand Slam title with the winner of their clash on Saturday potentially facing sixth seed Dominika Cibulkova in the fourth round and Serena Williams in the quarter-finals.