Australian Open

Serena breaks Oz Open record

2014-01-17 07:47
Serena Williams (AFP)

Melbourne - World number one Serena Williams set a new record of 61 Australian Open wins on Friday as she scorched into the fourth round - and warned she plans to get even better.

The American top seed used her powerful serve to good effect as she raced past experienced Slovak Daniela Hantuchova on another hot Melbourne day, 6-3, 6-3 in 80 minutes.

Williams, bidding for a sixth Australian Open crown, now faces either former world number one Ana Ivanovic or 2011 US Open champion Samantha Stosur for a place in the quarter-finals.

"It was a tough match. Daniela is a great opponent so I'm really happy to come out with the win," said Williams.

"It was hot but you have to play, you have to be ready and prepare yourself mentally. I'm excited to get through."

Hantuchova, ranked 33, was never going to be an easy opponent and she had her chances with six break points. But Williams fired down aces at crucial times, with eight in the first set alone.

The victory set a new landmark for the American veteran, who is gunning to match the achievement of Chris Evert and Martina Navratilova in winning her 18th Grand Slam.

Beating Hantuchova was her 61st win at the Australian Open, surpassing the previous record set by Margaret Court.

Asked which had been her favourite matches, she replied: "All the finals I was able to win."

Williams, who made her Australian Open debut in 1998, also drew alongside Open-era record-holder Lindsay Davenport in playing 69 singles matches at Melbourne Park.

With a career-best 11 titles last year, the 32-year-old appears to be getting better with age and she has no plans to slow down.

"I feel like in life 32 is young, you know. In sports it's old. But for whatever reason, I feel like I just never was really able to reach my full potential, and I feel like recently I just have been able to do a little better," she said.

"I just keep trying to improve on everything."

The morning match got under away with the temperature already touching 36 Celsius (96.8 Fahrenheit), with Williams and Hantuchova both holding serve as they acclimatised on Rod Laver Arena.

The Slovak had two break points on Williams' next serve but the American delivered a net volley then blasted two aces to ensure she held.

As she got into her stride, Williams' ball-striking and placement was improving and she scored the break she wanted in the sixth game to take charge.

Hantuchova had a break point in the seventh but again Williams' powerful serve came to the rescue as she held for 5-2.

The Slovak held serve with a sizzling backhand down the line and she kept applying the pressure to again have two break points as Williams was serving for the set.

But the world's top player saved both, hitting another two aces before forcing a backhand error from Hantuchova to take the set in 38 minutes.

She was in control and Hantuchova was flagging, with a series of unforced errors handing Williams an early break in the second to go 1-0 in front.

The Slovak rallied and a forehand down the line ensured she broke to love in the sixth game, only for the focused Williams to bounce straight back and win three games in a row to take the match.

Read more on:    australian open  |  serena williams  |  tennis
NEXT ON SPORT24X

 

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
27 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
Live Video Streaming
Video Highlights
Sport Talk

Vote

Which is your favourite Grand Slam of the year?

 
 
Featured Blog

The stock of Bulls and Sharks 2014 Super Rugby jerseys are slowly becoming available after the festive season break, writes blogger Baylion.

Latest blogs
 

Twitter Follow Sport24 on Twitter

Newsletters Sign up for the Morning Glory, Super 15 and Soccer newsletters

Blogs Yes your opinion counts. Get it out there

WIN Enter and win with Sport24!

Mobile Sport24 on your mobile phone - WAP, alerts, downloads, services

BlackBerry Stay in the loop on your BlackBerry

iPhone Latest Sport24 news on your iPhone

Facebook "Like" Sport24's Facebook page

TV schedule Plan your couch time with our searchable sport TV guide

RSS Feeds Sport news delivered really simply.

 
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.