MELBOURNE: A relaxed Serena Williams was untroubled by Nina Stojanovic on Wednesday in the Australian Open, as the 23-time Grand Slam champion continued her ominous form at Melbourne Park.

The 39-year-old maintained her unbeaten run since emerging from 14-day quarantine with a 6-3, 6-0 second-round drubbing in 69 minutes.

“l wasn’t thinking as much in the second, as I was in the first,” said Williams, who hit 27 winners. “I’m here to have fun and it’s great to be playing in front of a crowd.”

Serena Williams20210211 800x582 - Relaxed Serena cruises into Australian Open third round
Serena Williams AP PHOTO

The 10th seed started with a sizzling backhand winner and maintained a vice-like grip over the Serb, breaking in the opening game of the second set and sealing victory with her sixth ace.

Williams reprised her multicolored, one-legged catsuit — a flamboyant outfit inspired by late sprint queen Florence Griffith Joyner, popularly known as “Flo-Jo”.

The 10th seed has been in strong form so far as she chases Margaret Court’s record Grand Slam tally of 24.

The seven-time Australian Open champion has been battling shoulder and Achilles niggles but shown no ill-effects on court.

Playing her unparalleled 100th Australian Open match, she had thrashed Laura Siegemund 6-1, 6-1 in the first round and faces Anastasia Potapova of Russia in the third round.

Hard quarantine ‘took a toll’ on players
Being stuck for two weeks in a Melbourne hotel room with windows that wouldn’t open “really took a toll” on Victoria Azarenka in the leadup to the Australian Open, the Grand Slam tournament’s two-time champion explained after she had trouble breathing during a first-round loss.

When Tennys Sandgren resumed practicing after his can’t-go-anywhere hard quarantine ended, the American said Tuesday, his hands developed blisters from holding a racket. The rest of his body was so sore, Sandgren said, he “took two days off because I couldn’t walk.”

Vasek Pospisil’s time in lockdown left him “a little bit resentful” about being “unprepared” and concerned about the lack of a level playing field, the Canadian said in a video interview with The Associated Press. The 2014 Wimbledon doubles champion was critical of Tennis Australia, saying: “They’re not familiar with player needs and how it is to be a professional athlete.”

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