TENNIS LEGEND Serena Williams served up more than a dozen unforced errors as she stuttered past Tamara Zidansek 6-2 6-3 to advance to the Australian Open 3rd round on Wednesday (January 22).
The American ace’s erratic display surprised the Melbourne Park, yet her loud roars after clinching vital points pushed her towards a seventh win on the bounce
Chasing a record-equalling 24th Grand Slam singles title, the veteran initially appeared in fine form by sailing through the opening set in just over half-an-hour.
But world no.70 Zidansek put up plenty of resistance in the following set, saving seven break points to frustrate the 38-year-old.
Williams, a seven-time Grand Slam champion Down Under, was in emphatic form to break the opening game and in top gear reeled off the set in 31 minutes.
Then 22-year-old Zidansek resorted to playing a percentage game with a series of smooth strokes, which resulted in rare errors creeping into her opponent’s game.
The American staved off four break points to eventually hold and level matters at 3-3, with Zidansek visibly wilting after coming so close to leading.
The Slovenian simply fell apart, failing to win a point on her serve to trail. Williams grabbed the points with aplomb and secured victory with a firm cross-court forehand winner to set up an encounter with China’s Wang Qiang.
The no.27 seed, thrashed in 44 minutes by Williams in last year’s US Open quarter-final, will be expecting to put up more of a resistance in their next meeting.
At the press conference Williams admitted about her success over Zidansek: “She was a real good fighter and she didn’t just let me win. I had to step up or it was going to be a really long evening for me.”