Serena Williams Prevails in ‘Pretty Darn Ugly’ Battle, Sets up Mouthwatering Clash

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Serena Williams Prevails in ‘Pretty Darn Ugly’ Battle, Sets up Mouthwatering Clash

Serena Williams overcame an error-strewn start Friday to thwart Anastasia Potapova and ensure her bid for history at the Australian Open continued.

The 23-time Grand Slam had 31 unforced errors but wore down the Russian 7-6 (7/5), 6-2 in 97 minutes on Rod Laver Arena to set up a fourth-round showdown with seventh seed Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus.

Williams explained that she wasn’t aware of Victoria’s impending five-day lockdown until after her match, during which some spectators left the arena in an effort to book flights to get out of the state.

“Actually, I didn‘t know at all until the match was over. I think it’s good that I didn’t know,” she said.

“It’s rough. It’s going to be a rough few days for I think everyone. But we’ll hopefully get through it.”

The 39-year-old said there likely wouldn’t be much difference in her day-to-day routine given she has been part of a tennis bubble already, joking “I’ve been doing that for 20 years, so I think I’ve been quarantining for my whole career”.

Speaking on her error-strewn start, Williams said it was unique for her, but not something she was alarmed by as she prepares to take on the big-hitting Sabalenka.

“I came out of the blocks not like I have been (before),” she admitted.

“But it’s all about surviving and playing better every round.”

The 10th seed had been in strong form so far in Melbourne as she chases Margaret Court’s record 24 Grand Slam tally, but was out-of-sorts in an error-strewn start to fall down a break.

But Potapova, 19, had a meltdown trying to serve out the first set with five double faults squandering the golden opportunity.

A refocused Williams then lifted her intensity and won a tiebreak before cruising through the second set.

Williams, the seven-time Australian Open champion, will on Sunday play Sabalenka who thrashed American Ann Li 6-3, 6-1, with a place in the quarter-finals at stake.

Source: Fox Sports