The overall top seed in the women's draw, Serena Williams, didn't skip a beat on Day 5 at the 2014 Australian Open, cruising to a straight-sets win over 31st-seeded Daniela Hantuchova, 6-3, 6-3 to secure a berth in the Round of 16.
The tournament's official Twitter account confirmed the result:
Williams' all-time Australian Open record, 61st career singles-match win Down Under sets up a fourth-round clash with the winner of No. 14 Ana Ivanovic vs. No. 17 Samantha Stosur this weekend.
Hantuchova held her own through the first few games before finally handing Williams a break point opportunity. The world No. 1 wouldn't squander the chance, earning the break and denying all five of her opponent's break point chances to take the first set 6-3 in just under 40 minutes.
The world No. 33 would win 13 of 36 points on Williams' serve in the opening set, but was unable to avoid being aced eight times.
As ESPN Tennis points out, Hantuchova was able to trouble Williams on her first serve for the first time in the tournament:
Williams' momentum would carry over into the second set, as she took an early break advantage to put Hantuchova on the ropes. However, a few sloppy service points from Williams gave Hantuchova triple break point. The veteran Slovak would capitalize, breaking Williams for the first time in the match to even the set at three games apiece.
The celebration would be short-lived, though, as the five-time Australian Open champion refocused and broke right back.
After holding serve to go up 5-3, Williams would break for the fourth time in the match to close out the deciding set and match in convincing fashion.
"It was a tough match...It's definitely hot, but you have to be ready to play," Williams said after the match, according to the Associated Press (via ESPN). "And then you have to prepare yourself mentally, too."
The biggest difference in the match would be how each player fared in the key moments. While Williams was able to play her best tennis on break points, Hantuchova struggled, cashing in on just one of six for the match.
"I always go into matches thinking it'll be my day.She played very well on the important points, it made a difference" #Hantuchova on Serena— Australian Open (@AustralianOpen) January 17, 2014
The underdog also needed to hit more than 10 winners to have a shot at the upset.
Williams' third-round victory marks her 25th consecutive win dating back to 2013 and signals the 11th time she's reached the Round of 16 at the season's first Grand Slam.
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