Sport

Serena consoles opponent after win

Serena Williams consoled 18-year-old Dayana Yastremska after the seven-time Australian Open champion breezed into the fourth round.

The 37-year-old continued her impressive passage through the draw with an emphatic 6-2 6-1 victory over the 18-year-old Ukrainian, who was not born when Williams won her first Grand Slam singles title in 1999.

“You did amazing. You did so well. You’re gonna make it, don’t cry. You did really well,” Williams told an emotional Yastremska after her victory on Rod Laver Arena.

The American 16th seed is targeting a record-equalling 24th Grand Slam singles title and maintained her standing as the favourite for a record-extending eighth success in Melbourne.

Asked in her post-match interview about the future of Yastremska, Williams added: “She came out swinging and to be so young, she came out ready to go.

“When I was young I played against so many people and everyone I faced was intimidating and not easy. You just go out and swing and do the best you can.”

While Williams eased her way into the second week there were far more difficult third-round encounters for Elina Svitolina and Naomi Osaka, who both needed come-from-behind wins to reach the last-16.

Svitolina, who won last season’s WTA Finals, recovered from 3-0 and two service breaks down in the third set against China’s Zhang Shuai to prevail.

The sixth seed required treatment for a stiff shoulder and neck but despite failing to serve out for victory, having won five games in a row in the decider, converted on her second match point.

“It was a very tough match for both of us,” Svitolina said. “She played unbelievable tennis and hopefully we’ll see many more of her talents back in Melbourne. It was very hot conditions so I was struggling a little.

“We left everything on court but we practise every day for those matches. I thought I will either die or win.

“I had to stay mentally strong. I was trying to stay out there as long as possible.”

Madison Keys will be Svitolina’s next opponent after the American broke Elise Mertens’ serve four times in a dominant 6-3 6-2 win.

US Open champion Osaka came back from two games from defeat to overcome the unorthodox playing style of Hsieh Su-wei 5-7 6-4 6-1.

Hsieh caused Osaka difficulties with her use of spins and angles appeared in command having won the opening set and leading 4-1 in the second only for the previously frustrated Japanese player to win 11 of the last 12 games.

“I just didn’t want to give up,” said Osaka.

“I really love Grand Slams so I did anything I could do to stay here a bit longer.”

Osaka will meet Latvia’s Anastasija Sevastova in the fourth round after the 13th seed beat China’s world No 21 Qianq Wang 6-3 6-3.

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