Sunday 18 February 2018

Tennis: Superb Serena showcases her title ambitions in some style

Defending champion Serena Williams swept into the Australian Open third round with a 6-2, 6-1 victory over unseeded teenager Petra Kvitova in little over an hour and then claimed: "I could have played a lot better."

It was a wholly dominant display from the world No 1, who dropped just three points on her first serve while winning more than half of the points on Kvitova's service.

Williams is chasing a fifth title and ominously for her rivals said afterwards she was already nearing peak form and fitness.

"I thought I was a little bit better than my match in my first round," said Williams, who had come into the tournament under a fitness cloud after limping through her defeat against Elena Dementieva in the final at Sydney last week. "I don't think I'm that far (from full fitness) and I felt like I could have actually played a lot better today."

Williams will next play 32nd seed Carla Suarez Navarro, who beat Germany's Andrea Petkovic 6-1 6-4. Sixth seed Venus Williams (29), who is chasing her first Australian Open title, claimed her second consecutive straight-sets win as she beat Sybille Bammer 6-2 7-5.

Former world No 1 Ana Ivanovic continued her disappointing Grand Slam form since winning the 2008 French Open as she was bundled out by 36th-ranked Gisela Dulko 6-7 (6/8) 7-5 6-4.

It is the seventh major in succession the Serbian has failed to get past the fourth round. "It hurts, I must say," she said. "I think I just have to be patient. It will take some time. I do feel better on the court. There are still some areas that are not there for me to rely on when I need them the most. Some matches it's there, some not."

Irish Independent

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