Venus can still win on the big stage

— -- Believe it or not, Venus Williams turns 35 in June.

She doesn't move quite as well as she used -- who does? -- and her game is sometimes a little dusty around the edges. But despite an auto-immune condition that severely limits her practice time, Venus usually shows up and beats the players she's supposed to.

Venus isn't going to win another Grand Slam singles title; it has been nearly seven years since she won her seventh overall, her fifth at Wimbledon. She has won more than $30 million in official prize money, so it's not that.

Maybe it just keeps her occupied while she's pursuing an online bachelor's degree from Indiana University East. The goal: an MBA.

"I love the information," Venus said after her first-round victory over Maria Torro-Flor. "I don't like to do the work. I guess that's the same thing [as tennis]. Yes, I like matches. Does anyone like practice? Probably not."

Thursday's opponent was particularly familiar to Venus, and not just because Lauren Davis is American. They met two weeks earlier in the Auckland semifinal, and the No. 18-seeded Venus beat her 6-0, 6-3 on the way to the title. It was Davis' first career WTA semifinal.

This time it was 6-2, 6-3, so the 21-year-old Ohioan is improving. Davis, who at 5-foot-2, 121 pounds, is the second-shortest player in the WTA's top 100, won only 19 of her 39 first serves (49 percent) while the 6-foot-3 (she's listed at 6-1) Venus knocked in 17 of 21, good for 81 percent.

Lurking not far away is No. 6 seed Agnieszka Radwanska, who administered an even more muscular beating on Johanna Larsson, 6-0, 6-1. It was over in 44 minutes, with Larsson winning all of 16 points.

"I think it was a great match," Radwanska said afterward, clearly speaking for herself. "I play aggressive from the beginning to the end. Be fresh for the next one."

If they both win eminently winnable third-round matches, Radwanska and Venus could meet in the fourth round with a spot in the quarterfinals on the line.

Isner and Johnson advance

Much has been made about the sorry state of men's tennis, but of the four American men in the top half of the draw, three reached the second round. Two of them, playing first matches, advanced swiftly to the third. No. 19 seed John Isner handled Andreas Haider-Maurer 6-4, 7-6 (4), 4-6, 6-4, while unseeded Steve Johnson had a commanding win over No. 30 seed Santiago Giraldo.

Isner cracked 28 aces, to run his two-match total to 59. The 6-11 player also had 64 winners. He advances to the third round of the Australian Open for the fourth time. Next up: the winner of the match between Gilles Muller and No. 13 seed Roberto Bautista Agut, who would be a stout challenge.

Johnson, who hit 17 aces himself, also had a nearly spotless record of efficiency; the 25-year-old was credited with 17 winners -- and just two unforced errors. His reward for reaching the third round? A date with No. 5 seed Kei Nishikori, who overcame a sluggish start to defeat pesky Ivan Dodig 4-6, 7-6 (4), 4-6, 6-4, 7-6 (0).