Hot-serving Serena bludgeons past Kirilenko
By Greg Stutchbury
MELBOURNE (Reuters) - Serena Williams was at her enigmatic best on Monday after she bludgeoned her way into the Australian Open quarter-finals with a 6-2 6-0 win over Maria Kirilenko.
The 31-year-old American wasted little effort in demolishing the 14th seed in 57 minutes to set up a showdown with young compatriot Sloane Stephens, yet as far as Williams was concerned she struggled against the Russian.
"I was surprised. I felt like Maria played really well," Williams told reporters. "I was just trying to play well, just to keep up."
Kirilenko tried to execute a high-risk game plan against Williams, but the third seed simply swatted her aside with contemptuous ease.
She served six aces to Kirilenko's one and her top speed for serve was 201kph. Kirilenko's was 170kph, three kph below Williams's average.
Williams's first serve completion was 87 percent and her second serve was just as potent with Kirilenko adding she thought she had made only one successful return.
Williams also gave up just three break-point opportunities, none of which the Russian converted. Williams converted five from seven. The American also hammered 22 winners and forced Kirilenko into 15 errors.
That dominance has continued a trend Williams began after twisting her ankle in her first-round clash against Romania's Edina Gallovits-Hall. Continued...