Serena Williams made quick work of Vesna Dolonc in the second round of the 2014 Australian Open on Wednesday, Jan. 15, in Melbourne, winning in dominant fashion by a score of 6-1, 6-2 at Rod Laver Arena.
The match may as well have been called after the first set, considering how borderline unbeatable the 17-time Grand Slam champion has been at Melbourne Park when she wins it:
Although she's captured the trophy at this tournament five previous times, the No. 1 seed Williams has not emerged triumphant in the end since 2010. Williams is attempting to match the 18 major titles won by Chris Evert and Martina Navratilova.
However, the 32-year-old appears locked in and in fine form for the season's first marquee event.
This marks the 24th consecutive match Williams has won overall, and she was still visibly trying to hone her craft despite how much she was crushing her opponent on the scoreboard.
The win may seem rather insignificant in the big picture of what Williams is setting out to accomplish this season, but as Fairfax Radio Network's Shane McInnes tweeted, there was serious history on the line:
Incredible to think, should Serena Williams win today (she will), she'll equal Margaret Court's record for most matches won at #ausopen (60)— Shane McInnes (@shanemcinnes) January 15, 2014
MSNBC's Andrew Jerrell Jones was impressed with how Williams cruised in the extreme weather, where temperatures were over 100 degrees:
Very Good performance by Serena in this heat, still a firm favorite and moving though. Also good that Li got through in 2 on this hot day.— Andrew Jerell Jones (@sluggahjells) January 15, 2014
The victory didn't come without mistakes, so it makes sense that Williams was a little frustrated.
Even with 19 unforced errors, though, Williams' serve proved to be the difference. She hit 66 percent of her first serves in—including 10 aces—winning 85 percent of those points, and she won 60 percent of second-serve points in the second set.
Swinging hard to shorten points was part of what ran up the error count, something that could be discerned from Williams' post-match comments, per ESPN.com's Steve Tignor:
Serena's strategy for playing in the heat: "Hit a bunch of aces and a bunch of winners." #ausopen— Steve Tignor (@SteveTignor) January 15, 2014
Next up for Williams in Round 3 is the winner of a match between Daniela Hantuchova and Karolina Pliskova, per Sports Illustrated's Beyond the Baseline:
Serena Williams is through with ease, beats Dolonc 61 62. Will play Hantuchova or Pliskova in 3R. No drama = good drama. #ausopen— Beyond The Baseline (@SI_BTBaseline) January 15, 2014
Dolonc has never made it past the third round of a Grand Slam event and was simply outmatched by Williams' power in this one. At No. 104 in the WTA rankings, the underdog 24-year-old didn't stand much of a chance in the first place.
Struggling on serve didn't help Dolonc's cause, as she recorded eight double faults and managed only one break point opportunity when Williams was on serve at 4-1, which she didn't capitalize on.
Even though Dolonc typically deploys an aggressive style of play, it was hard to establish that against such a physical force in Williams. Dolonc hit a meager nine winners compared to 20 unforced errors, though it could be argued Williams' superiority caused Dolonc to press or impacted her groundstroke accuracy.