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 get interesting in the next round, though, as Williams bids for an eighth trophy at the Australian Open and record-tying 24th Grand Slam title in all: She will next face either her sister, Venus, or No. 1-ranked Simona Halep.
In other action, No. 4 seed Naomi Osaka, the U.S. Open champion, struggled early but defeated Hsieh Su-wei 5-7, 6-4, 6-1.
Osaka got a warning from the umpire after she spiked her racket in frustration when Hsieh took the first set with three breaks of service. Osaka was getting flustered, unable to dictate rallies and seemingly unable to find a way to deal with Hsieh’s unusual style.
The 33-year-old Hsieh, who plays with a double-handed grip on both sides and uses a mixture of spin and slice and drop shots, has taken some top 10 players out of majors before. She reached the fourth round last year here, after beating Garbine Muguruzu, and at Wimbledon, where she beat Halep.
Osaka found a way back, though, in the second set when Hsieh was one point away from a 5-2 lead.
Osaka will face Anastasija Sevastova, who beat Wang Qiang 6-3, 6-3.
Also advancing was sixth-seeded Elina Svitolina. She needed treatment on her right shoulder from the trainer and a medical timeout in the second set and had to rally from 3-0 down in the third set before fending off Zhang Shuai 4-6, 6-4, 7-5 in a match lasting almost three hours on Rod Laver Arena.
“It was very, very tough match for both of us. She played unbelievable tennis,” Svitolina said. “I was struggling. I just told myself, ‘I’m going to die or win.’”
She will next play either Madison Keys or Elise Mertens.
In the men’s third round, Daniil Medvedev of Russia defeated David Goffin of Belgium 6-2, 7-6 (3), 6-3. Medvedev will next face either top-seeded Novak Djokovik of Serbia or Denis Shapovalov of Canada. Also advancing was No. 8 seed Nishikori of Japan, who beat Joao Sousa of Portugal 7-6 (6), 6-1, 6-2. He will face Pablo Carreno Busta of Spain, who beat Fabio Fognini of Italy 6-2, 6-4, 2-6, 6-4.