Serena Williams sizzles to victory

02/04/2021

Melbourne, Feb. 4: Serena Williams sounded a warning for her fellow Australian Open contenders with a sleek 6-1 6-4 victory against Bulgarian Tsvetana Pironkova to reach the quarterfinals of the Yarra Valley Classic here on Wednesday.

After top two seeds Ash Barty and Sofia Kenin faced steep challenges to keep their preparations on course, Williams put up a contrasting show at Melbourne Park’s Margaret Court Arena in the evening session.

World No. 1 Barty, who won 6-0 4-6 6-3, showed no signs of fatigue from having played a late match on Tuesday and started in top gear against Marie Bouzkova at the Margaret Court Arena before her Czech opponent staged a fightback.

Australian Open champion Kenin, seeded second, appeared headed for an exit against fellow American Jessica Pegula when she fell 0-3 back after losing the first set but the feisty 22-year-old found her range and rallied for a 5-7 7-5 6-2 win.

Williams, a 23-time Grand Slam winner and a seven-time Australian Open champion, moved well, looked composed and mixed power with poise against Pironkova, who had won a set off her during last year’s US Open quarterfinals.

Kenin set up a last-eight clash against two-time Major winner Garbine Muguruza, who defeated Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 6-1 6-2.

Danielle Collins ousted third seed Karolina Pliskova 7-6(5) 7-6(3) in a battle of attrition while Nadia Podoroska edged two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova 5-7 6-1 7-6(7).-Agencies

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