ShareThis Page
Serena Williams untested heading into Week 2 of Australian Open | TribLIVE.com
U.S./World Sports

Serena Williams untested heading into Week 2 of Australian Open

The Associated Press
| Saturday, January 19, 2019 1:30 a.m
656414_web1_656414-3a72bc93c8674845a3fff8ab92f407f4
AP
United States’ Serena Williams celebrates after defeating Ukraine’s Dayana Yastremska during their third round match at the Australian Open tennis championships in Melbourne, Australia, Saturday, Jan. 19, 2019.

MELBOURNE, Australia — Maybe Serena Williams will be tested in the Australian Open’s fourth round, because no one has come close to making her work too hard so far.

Playing clean and powerful tennis, Williams overwhelmed 18-year-old Dayana Yastremska of Ukraine, 6-2, 6-1, on Saturday.

Williams grabbed a pair of service breaks and a 4-0 lead after less than 15 minutes and was well on her way to yet another easy-looking victory. When it ended, Williams placed her arm around Yastremska, who wiped away a tear.

“I thought she did really amazing. She came out swinging,” Williams told the crowd. “To be so young, I thought she came out really ready to go.”

Not only has Williams won every set she played this week — and 20 in a row at Melbourne Park, dating to the start of her 2017 run to the title — but she’s ceded a total of only nine games through three victories.

Things could finally get interesting in Week 2, though, as Williams bids for an eighth trophy at the Australian Open and record-tying 24th Grand Slam title in all. She will face either her older sister, Venus, or No. 1-ranked Simona Halep next. Those two were scheduled to meet each other Saturday night.

Unlike any of Serena’s foes until now, both Venus (with seven) and Halep (with one) have won a major title.

Yastremska had never won so much as a single match at any Grand Slam tournament until this one, but she showed she’s capable of top-notch play during wins over 2011 U.S. Open champion Sam Stosur in the first round, then 23rd-seeded Carla Suarez Navarro in the second.

She was born in 2000, the year after Serena won her initial major, and grew up cheering for someone she calls “a legend.” Yastremska recalls swinging her racket in the living room at home while watching on TV at age 8 as her favorite player competed.

Surely, everything felt a tad different up-close-and-personal with the 37-year-old American in Rod Laver Arena.

Right from the start, Yastremska appeared a bit jittery, missing 9 of 10 first serves and double-faulting three times while getting broken in each of her opening two service games. By the end of the first set, the teenager had 13 unforced errors, nine more than Williams.

Didn’t get much better in the second set, and Williams wound up with eight aces while facing zero break points, and a 20-13 ratio of winners to unforced errors.

In other action, No. 8 Kei Nishikori beat Joao Sousa 7-6 (6), 6-1, 6-2, and No. 15 Daniil Medvedev defeated No. 21 David Goffin 6-2, 7-6 (3), 6-3.

The woman Williams lost to in last year’s chaotic U.S. Open final, Naomi Osaka, dusted herself off after tumbling to the court and erased a big deficit by taking 11 of 12 games to beat No. 28 Hsieh Su-wei 5-7, 6-4, 6-1.

No. 6 Elina Svitolina also put together quite a comeback to win 4-6, 6-4, 7-5 against Zhang Shuai 4-6, 6-4, 7-5, while No. 13 Anastasija Sevastova eliminated No. 21 Wang Qiang 6-3, 6-3.

“I was … struggling,” said Svitolina, who was treated by a trainer after the second set. “I just told myself, ‘I’m going to die or win.’”

Categories: Sports | US-World
TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.