Melbourne - Serena Williams stormed past Canada's Eugenie Bouchard and into the Australian Open third round on Thursday as her quest for a record-equalling 24th Grand Slam title gathered pace.
The American won 6-2, 6-2 in 70 minutes, setting up unseeded Ukrainian teenager Dayana Yastremska as the next hurdle in her bid for another major to equal the mark set by Australian great Margaret Court.
The 37-year-old won her 23rd major Down Under two years ago while two months pregnant and is the bookies' favourite to claim an eighth Australian title, despite being seeded 16th.
Williams said she was wary of Bouchard, who is on the comeback trail after a slide down the rankings to number 79 in the world.
"It wasn't an easy match tonight, Eugenie's been to the final of Wimbledon (in 2014) and the semi-finals of other Grand Slams," she said.
"So I knew 'Serena, you've got to come out hot, you've got to come out firing, she's a really good player and I haven't had many matches since last year'."
The signs looked ominous for Bouchard when she won only one point on her opening service game, then failed to hit a return when it was Williams' turn to serve.
Yet the first set was a messy affair for both players, with only two games going on serve.
It was testament to Bouchard's tenacity that she managed two breaks to four against Williams' howitzer serve, sending her supporters into raptures.
But it always looked like an exercise in damage control for the Canadian, who attempted to run Williams around the court but struggled to cope with her opponent's blistering power.
Her resistance was slightly more effective early in the second set, when she managed to hold her two service games.
Williams responded with a lift in intensity, going on a five-game winning streak to settle the match.
Results from Day 4 of the Australian Open on Thursday:
Kei Nishikori (JPN x8) bt Ivo Karlovic (CRO) 6-3, 7-6 (8/6), 5-7, 5-7, 7-6 (10/7)
Borna Coric (CRO x11) bt Marton Fucsovics (HUN) 6-4, 6-3, 6-4
Pablo Carreno-Busta (ESP x23) bt Ilya Ivashka (BLR) 6-2, 6-3, 7-6 (9/7)
Fabio Fognini (ITA x12) bt Leonardo Mayer (ARG) 7-6 (7/3), 6-3, 7-6 (7/5)
Joao Sousa (POR) bt Philipp Kohlschreiber (GER x32) 7-5, 4-6, 7-6 (7/4), 5-7, 6-4
Pierre-Hugues Herbert (FRA) bt Chung Hyeon (KOR x24) 6-2, 1-6, 6-2, 6-4
Milos Raonic (CAN x16) bt Stan Wawrinka (SUI) 6-7 (4/7), 7-6 (8/6), 7-6 (13/11), 7-6 (7/5)
Denis Shapovalov (CAN x25) bt Taro Daniel (JPN) 6-3, 7-6 (7/2), 6-3
David Goffin (BEL x21) bt Marius Copil (ROU) 5-7, 7-5, 6-2, 6-4
Daniil Medvedev (RUS x15) bt Ryan Harrison (USA) 6-3, 6-3, 6-3
Filip Krajinovic (SRB) bt Evgeny Donskoy (RUS) 6-4, 7-6 (10/8), 7-6 (7/2)
Alexei Popyrin (AUS) bt Dominic Thiem (AUT x7) 7-5, 6-4, 2-0 retired
Alex Bolt (AUS) bt Gilles Simon (FRA x29) 2-6, 6-4, 4-6, 7-6 (10/8), 6-4
Lucas Pouille (FRA x28) bt Maximilian Marterer (GER) 7-6 (10/8), 7-6 (10/8), 5-7, 6-4
Camila Giorgi (ITA x27) bt Iga Swiatek (POL) 6-2, 6-0
Wang Qiang (CHN x21) bt Aleksandra Krunic (SRB) 6-2, 6-3
Elina Svitolina (UKR x6) bt Viktoria Kuzmova (SVK) 6-4, 6-1
Karolina Pliskova (CZE x7) bt Madison Brengle (USA) 4-6, 6-1, 6-0
Anastasija Sevastova (LAT x13) bt Bianca Andreescu (CAN) 6-3, 3-6, 6-2
Elise Mertens (BEL x12) bt Margarita Gasparyan (RUS) 6-1, 7-5
Hsieh Su-wei (TPE x28) bt Laura Siegemund (GER) 6-3, 6-4
Madison Keys (USA x17) bt Anastasia Potapova (RUS) 6-3, 6-4
Timea Bacsinszky (SUI) bt Natalia Vikhlyantseva (RUS) 6-2, 7-5
Naomi Osaka (JPN x4) bt Tamara Zidansek (SLO) 6-2, 6-4
Zhang Shuai (CHN) bt Kristyna Pliskova (CZE) 6-3, 7-5
Simona Halep (ROU x1) bt Sofia Kenin (USA) 6-3, 6-7 (5/7), 6-4
Venus Williams (USA) bt Alize Cornet (FRA) 6-3, 4-6, 6-0
Dayana Yastremska (UKR) bt Carla Suarez (ESP x23) 6-3, 3-6, 6-1
Serena Williams (USA x16) bt Eugenie Bouchard (CAN) 6-2, 6-2