Top seed Serena Williams is into the fourth round of the Australian Open, following a straight sets victory over Daniela Hantuchova last night on Rod Laver Arena. The win sets up a fantastic fourth round clash between the American and Serbia’s Ana Ivanovic, who battled through a tough three-set match against Sam Stosur to arrive at this stage of the event. The Williams vs Ivanovic head-to-head stands at 4-0 and the American will be looking to add a fifth win on Sunday.
The world No. 1 officially surpassed Margaret Court’s record for the all-time record for most match wins in Melbourne, when she collected her 61st win with a victory over Daniela Hantuchova in the third round of the Australian Open. She also tied the record for most career matches played at the Australian Open (69) – a record she shares with Lindsay Davenport.
The American hit 10 aces to two double faults, but hit a surprising number of unforced errors (18) to her 11 winners, which added to her dissatisfaction following the match. Ultimately, she was still victorious, defeating the No.31-seeded Hantuchova 6-3, 6-3 to bring their overall head-to-head record to 9-1.
“I was just getting my bearings and trying to figure out the right thing,” Williams said. “I wasn’t fully on today, so I was just trying to see if I could just go for it and how far out they were going to be. But I feel good to have gotten through that one. The conditions were tough out there.”
While Williams’ victory was a relatively easy one, Ivanovic’s was far from it. The Serbian star won a gruelling roller-coaster battle against the only Australian seed Samantha Stosur, eventually winning the match 6-7(8) 6-4 6-2 to advance to the fourth round in Melbourne.
The first set featured a variety of breaks of serve, where Stosur initially failed to serve out the opening set and allowed Ivanovic to break back to a 5-5 score. The two would play a fantastic tiebreak, where Ivanovic failed to serve out the set and once the score reached 7-7, the rain came pouring down and play was suspended until the roof was closed. They would resume play shortly and Stosur would close out the set.
Ivanovic would step up her game in the second two sets, playing some fantastic shots and hitting a barrage of winners that would get her the necessary breaks of serve. She initially had trouble serving out the second set but recovered to force a decider. She would then dominate the final set with relative ease as Stosur appeared to have crashed out of the contest.
“I thought it was a great quality match today,” Ivanovic said. “I’m just really happy after losing the first set to still stay composed and play some good tennis and win.It was a very exciting match I think for everyone. It was such a high level of tennis from the first moment on. The crowd was really into it. I got into it, too, and I enjoyed it.”
While Ivanovic’s performance was inspiring, she will need to push herself even further if she intends on matching Serena in their upcoming encounter. In their four previous meetings, Ivanovic failed capture a single set against the American, which will certainly add to her doubts on Sunday. She will need to find a way to handle the world No. 1’s power or else she will be in for another rapid loss to Williams.
Prediction: Serena Williams in Straight Sets