Serena consoles Ukrainian teen after beating her to sail into last 16

Serena Williams at Wimbledon. [Photo credit: Forefront Nigeria]
Serena Williams at Wimbledon. [Photo credit: Forefront Nigeria]

Serena Williams powered into the Australian Open fourth round on Saturday with a 6-2 6-1 demolition of Dayana Yastremska and then consoled the Ukrainian teenager after leaving her in tears.

The 37-year-old Williams, chasing a record-extending eighth Melbourne title in the professional era, barely broke sweat on a sunny afternoon at Rod Laver Arena.

She racked up 20 winners and beat the 57th-ranked 18-year-old in a breezy 67 minutes.

“As she was walking towards the net, I could tell she was quite upset,” Williams told reporters.

“I kind of liked that. It shows she wasn’t just there to play a good match, she was there to win. She wanted to win. That really broke my heart.

“I think she’s a good talent. It’s good to see that attitude.”

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Yastremska rolled her right ankle midway through the match and took a medical time-out to have her foot bandaged when trailing 4-1 in the second set.

It stalled defeat only briefly, however, as Williams broke her a third time in the set and claimed the match when the Ukrainian sprayed a cross-court forehand wide.

Chasing her 24th Grand Slam title, Williams has conceded only nine games at the tournament and not dropped a set but may finally have a test in the fourth round.

She will face top seed Simona Halep, who beat her sister Venus Williams, for a place in the quarter-finals.

She mentioned Venus was one of the players that left her crying after defeat.

“I remember one time in particular against Venus at Wimbledon, as I was walking to the net, I started bawling,” she said.

“I couldn’t help it. Young girls, young women, just want to go out there and do their best and want to win.”

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Since returning to the tour after maternity leave, Williams has yet to win a Grand Slam as a mother after two near-misses in the finals at Wimbledon and the U.S. Open.

Seeded 16th in Melbourne, she felt torn about who she might like to play next but said a match against top seed Halep would test her true level.

“Yeah, and I honestly would love to face the world number one,” she added.

“At the same time I would love for Venus to win. I think either way, regardless, I’ll be ready for either opponent.

“Yeah, it will be great. I haven’t played the world number one since I’ve been back, I don’t think. So, yeah, it will be good.”

(Reuters/NAN)

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