Melbourne - Top seed Serena Williams powered into the Australian Open fourth
round on Saturday, but only after sister Venus inspired her to shake of a
sluggish start against Ukrainian 26th seed Elina Svitolina.
18-time Grand Slam champion conceded her first set of the tournament to
Svitolina, continuing a run of slow starts, before Venus' hard-fought
run into the final 16 at Melbourne Park convinced to her to knuckle
The American cruised through 4-6, 6-2, 6-0 when she finally
focused, but said she did not know why she continued to zone out as she
chases a sixth Australian title with her world number one ranking on the
"I'm not sure. I need to figure that out," said Williams,
who faces dangerous Spanish 24th seed Garbine Muguruza in the fourth
"My next match I'm just going to have a longer warm-up, a
more intense warm-up. But as long as I was able to come through today, I
can always have an opportunity for tomorrow."
The 33-year-old said there was little she could do but hang on early in the match against an inspired Svitolina.
kept hitting winners in the first set, there wasn't much I could do,"
Williams said. "When in doubt just start running as fast as you can,
that's what Venus always told me."- 'I can do better' -
the end, it was Venus who provided the inspiration for her to hit the
gas with a back-from-the-dead performance of her own to make the last
She said that while playing she kept an eye on a scoreboard
showing Venus' progress in her three-set win over Italy's Camila Giorgi,
drawing motivation from her sister's advance.
"(I thought) 'C'mon Serena, she's winning, she's doing so well and I can do better', you can do it too," she said.
been through so much with her illness, with everything that she's had
to do. Gosh, if she can do it, I'm perfectly healthy, I'm fine. I should
be able to do it, too."
Williams was full of praise for
Svitolina, describing the 20-year-old who was playing at Melbourne Park
for only the second time as "one to watch".
youngster caught Williams napping and was soon up two breaks, with the
world number one showing the same inaccuracy and unforced errors that
dogged her earlier in the tournament.
She broke back and tried to get herself out of trouble in the next game with an ace but Svitolina refused to be intimidated.
The pair exchanged breaks again before the Ukrainian served out the set after 36 minutes.
American was vastly improved in the second set, blasting down five aces
including a 196 kilometres (122mph) thunderbolt, gradually seizing
momentum off Svitolina to take it 6-2 after 35 minutes.
Ukrainian's serve began to fall apart with a string of double faults and
her resistance finally crumbled in the second game of the third set
after losing a 23-shot rally to put Williams up a break.
Williams then took full control to hold Svitolina to love in the third set.
was wary of Muguruza, who defeated her in last year's French Open,
saying the Spaniard had played some "miraculous" tennis at Roland
"She has the potential to want to do that again against me. So I'm going to be ready for that," she said.