Venus Williams, Agnieszka Radwanska power ahead at Aussie Open
Seven-time Grand Slam champion Venus Williams was in vintage form Thursday, cantering past Lauren Davis in straight sets at the Australian Open and saying her vast experience was paying dividends.
Melbourne: Seven-time Grand Slam champion Venus Williams was in vintage form Thursday, cantering past Lauren Davis in straight sets at the Australian Open and saying her vast experience was paying dividends.
The 34-year-old American, seeded 18, is now on a 7-0 run after winning the lead-up Auckland Classic as she works to reach the second week of a Grand Slam for the first time since Wimbledon in 2011.
She has lost just one set during that time, to world number eight Caroline Wozniacki in the New Zealand final.
"I`m hitting the ball a lot like how I want to," she said after beating fellow American Davis 6-2, 6-3 to make the third round.
"Some points you play well and some not as well. I`m just continually trying to be as consistent as I can on the court and still play consistent while taking risk as well."
Williams, who has long battled illness and injury, will next meet either Czech Tereza Smitkova or Italy`s Camila Giorgi.
She has been playing Grand Slam tennis since 1997 and said the experience was a crucial part of her game now she was getting older.
"Honestly, I think I understand the game a lot more," she said.
"Even when I`m not playing as well, I think I`m able tactically to be more strategic than even, let`s say, Venus of 2000.
"So I think there is a big difference.
"I watched some old matches, and I`m like, Wow, if I could have been more strategic I could have won this match a lot easier.
"So I think strategically it`s more helpful, even if I am not on top of my game. I understand things a lot more. So that`s one of the beauties of continuing to play as you get a lot of the years under your belt."
Against Davis, Williams lost serve once in each set but from start to finish she was on her game, attacking and moving forward the whole time, blasting 18 winners in total and finishing eight points at the net.
While she is targeting the second week of a Slam for the first time since Wimbledon in 2011, she said that ultimately all she cared about was winning titles.
"For me it`s about titles, so no matter what the title is for me, to the finals is the same thing as the third round if I didn`t win," she said.
"For me, it`s about hopefully trying to take titles home."
Sixth seed Agnieszka Radwanska proved she has become a genuine Australian Open threat under coach Martina Navratilova when she thrashed Sweden`s Johanna Larsson 6-0, 6-1.
The drubbing took Radwanska into the third round and placed the spotlight on the Pole, who has flown under the radar so far at this year`s tournament.
The 25-year-old hired 18-time Grand Slam champion Navratilova last month to bolster her quest for a maiden major of her own.
"She`s helped me a lot, on the court and off the court," Radwanska said of the Czech great, now based in the United States.
"We`re working on a couple of things right now. So far so good."
Radwanska took just 44 minutes to brush aside Larsson, ranked 71 in the world, in the most one-sided match yet at this year`s tournament.
"From the warm up I just felt great and I really saw the ball very well," she said.
"Even in the hot conditions today, everything was working for me, so I`m very happy about that."
The win builds on a 6-3, 6-0 win over Japan`s Kurumi Nara in the first round, meaning Radwanska has dropped only four games in her opening two matches.
"I don`t think I`d want to play against myself," she joked when quizzed about her hot run of form.
The Australian Open is Radwanska`s strongest Grand Slam. She made the semi-finals at Melbourne Park last year and has reached the quarter-finals another four times.
She said quick results would help her conserve energy for the tournament`s latter stages.
"I think being fresh is one of the most important things, so I`m happy to play short and good and really close out that match pretty quickly," she said.
"Especially (since) the conditions can be very tough, so I think it`s much better than playing and being there for three hours."
Radwanska will meet either Varvara Lepchenck of the United States or Australia`s Ajla Tomljanovic in the third round.
"I just hope I can play the same good tennis I played today,"she said.