Serena Williams has continued her sizzling start to the season, dismissing Nina Stojanovic in straight sets to progress to the third round at Australian Open 2021.
Williams improved to 5-0 this year, and extended her winning streak to six matches, thanks to a 6-3 6-0 victory over the 24-year-old Serb.
She next meets Russia’s Anastasia Potapova – who she overwhelmed in first round at Melbourne Park last year – as she continues her campaign for a record-equalling 24th major singles title.
“It’s always a fun, interesting match (against Potapova). Gonna go home, get ready and just do the best,” said the 39-year-old, who has dropped just five games at the tournament so far.
“We’re all out here to have fun and I’m happy to be out here, and just to be playing in front of crowd again is really cool. So every day is just fun.”
In her first ever match against Williams, the odds were stacked against Stojanovic.
The world No.99 has never been ranked higher than 81st, never appeared in a tour-level final and never beaten a top-25 player. And she was bidding to become just the third player in history to defeat the seven-time AO champion in the second round at a Grand Slam event.
Yet she competed admirably, playing aggressively from the baseline and notching a winner count similar to Williams.
Serena eventually broke serve in the fourth game, but it took four break points to do so, with Stojanovic frequently hitting her way out of trouble.
Williams eventually held for a 4-1 lead, and those first five games alone took longer than her entire first set against Laura Siegemund two days earlier.
Stojanovic came at Williams again in the eighth game, as the American began misfiring. But down 15-40, Williams did what she is famous for, elevating her game under pressure and erasing both break points with a winner and unreturnable serve.
Stojanovic smacked a 10th winner to hold for 3-5, but that would be the last game she would win.
Serena served out the set in commanding style then stormed through the second, winning 26 points to Stojanovic’s nine and not committing a single unforced error.
Stojanovic simply couldn’t maintain the impressive level she reached in the opening set, with her game breaking down against the onslaught of Williams, who sealed victory with her sixth ace.
“She pushed me very hard and I think she played really well, honestly, throughout the whole match. So I had to really fight for all the games,” Williams said.
“I wasn’t thinking so much in the second as I was in the first; I kind of just let go and see what happened.”
Source: Matt Trollope