Serena Passes Court In Melbourne
Published January 17, 2014 12:15
The No.1-seeded Williams didn't look completely satisfied with her game - she had 10 aces to two double faults, but off the ground she had 11 winners to 18 unforced - but at the end of the day she came out with the win, beating the No.31-seeded Hantuchova for the ninth time in 10 meetings, 63 63.
"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."
Williams not only broke the record for most career match wins at the Australian Open, she also tied the record for most career matches played at the Australian Open, this being her 69th. Lindsay Davenport also played 69 matches here, though Williams has the better win-loss record - 61-8 compared to 56-13.
Does Williams remember any of those 61 wins more fondly than the others?
"For sure all the finals I was able to win!" she replied.
Williams' win over Hantuchova also extended her winning streak against 30-somethings to 21 matches in a row. Her last loss to a player age 30 or over came at the hands of Patty Schnyder at Rome in 2009. She has only lost against 30-somethings three times in her whole career, the other two losses coming against Jill Craybas at Wimbledon in 2005 and to Nathalie Tauziat at Paris [Indoors] in 2000.
That streak includes a 15-0 record against 30-somethings in 2013 - Williams has been the strongest of them all, but that still shows it's a growing age group on the tour. How does the World No.1 view it?
"I feel like in life, 32 is young," she said. "In sports it may be old, but for whatever reason, I feel like I was just never really able to reach my full potential before, and I feel like recently I've been able to do a little bit better. I just keep trying to improve on everything and do my best every time I play."
After the match, Hantuchova took to Twitter to give props to the 17-time Grand Slam champion:
Well played @serenawilliams. She is the best we have had in women's tennis...ever— Daniela Hantuchová (@dhantuchova) January 17, 2014
"That's such a compliment," Williams said. "Me, I'm just trying to do the best that I can and be the best that I can. Seeing someone like her work so hard and always in the gym and being fit, she doesn't take anything for granted. It's really, really motivating to watch players like her on the tour do so well."