Serena in cruise control
MELBOURNE - Defending champion Serena Williams blitzed into the fourth round of the Australian Open with a 6-0, 6-3 win over Spaniard Carla Suarez Navarro on Saturday.
The top seed will next play Australian 13th seed Samantha Stosur, who earlier beat Italian Alberta Brianti 6-4, 6-1.
It was far from plain sailing for Williams despite the scoreline, with the plucky Spaniard recovering from a disastrous start to push the top seed for much of the second set.
Williams came out with all guns blazing and raced to a 5-0 lead in only 15 minutes, Suarez Navarro winning just five points in the first five games.
She only seemed to wake up in the sixth game, which went for an amazing 23 minutes with 13 deuces, Williams clinching the first set on her eighth opportunity.
Suarez Navarro put Williams' sister Venus out in the second round last year and she took the same game plan in against Serena, blunting the American's power with precise placement and acute angles.
Williams was made to run all over the court, but she showed her superb athleticism as she chased down many of the Spaniard's best shots and returned them with interest.
Williams broke Suarez Navarro in the third game of the second set and was never in any trouble on her own serve, holding comfortably to 5-3, when she seized on a loose game by the Spaniard to break again and take the match.
Her match with Stosur should create plenty of interest, with the Australian number one beating Williams the last time they met.
Williams then added fuel to the fire by accusing Stosur of being a good "framer", implying many of her winning shots of being miss hits.
"I guess she thought I hit too many frames or shanks during that match," Stosur said.
"Maybe I hit a couple, but I hit with a bit of spin. Maybe she wasn't expecting so many balls to drop in because of the spin."