Serena sails into fourth round with Russian rout

Fri Jan 22, 2016 7:47am EST
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MELBOURNE (Reuters) - Serena Williams sent a warning to the rest of the field that she was still working towards her A-game as she charged into the Australian Open fourth round with a 6-1 6-1 demolition of Russian teenager Daria Kasatkina on Friday.

Playing a record 80th main draw match at Melbourne Park against an 18-year-old on her first trip Down Under, the American champion was merciless under the lights of Rod Laver Arena, blasting 24 winners and winning all 10 points coming into the net.

"I definitely think I played better today," Williams told reporters of her 44-minute victory. "Everything I've been trying to work on was kind of clicking.

"I thought I played pretty well in the other matches. My first match I thought I gave a great effort," she added of her first round victory over Italy's Camila Giorgi.

"My second match (against Hseih Su-Wei) I thought, under the circumstances, I thought I played well.

"Hopefully with each match I can just do better."

Kasatkina raised rambunctious cheers from sympathetic fans in the terraces when she prised a game in each set but Williams finished full of running, closing out the match when her frazzled opponent pushed a forehand wide.

Williams had a lengthy chat with the Russian after the match, though refused to go into specifics afterwards, merely outlining her admiration for the teenager.

"I think she's a good player and I thought she had a really good game (but) it was kind of between us," Williams said.   Continued...

Serena Williams of the U.S. hits a shot during her third round match against Russia's Daria Kasatkina at the Australian Open tennis tournament at Melbourne Park, Australia, January 22, 2016. REUTERS/Thomas Peter