Seven-time Australian Open champion Serena Williams added another match-win to her record-setting totals at the year’s first major event.
The No.10 seed Williams moved past Nina Stojanovic of Serbia 6-3, 6-0 on Rod Laver Arena to reach the third round spot in Melbourne for the 19th time in 20 appearances.
"It's really about finding that key balance there for me," Williams said in her post-match press conference, after improving her win-loss record in second-round Grand Slam matches to 73-2.
The 23-time Grand Slam champion Williams, who has played and won more matches at this major than any other woman in the tournament’s history, improved her win-loss record at the Australian Open to 89-12. Her first-round victory over Laura Siegemund was her 100th Australian Open singles match.
The former World No.1 executed a one-hour and nine-minute victory over World No.99 Stojanovic, the only Serb inside the Top 100 of the WTA singles rankings, by winning an impressive 86 percent of her first-service points and saving the three break points she faced during the clash.
Williams' backhands were clicking in the early stages. She powered through a tough game at 4-2 on the strength of that side, saving two break points in the process. An overhead winner on set point added an exclamation point to the opener for the American.
Stojanovic had already set a new standard for herself this week, attaining her first-ever victory in a Grand Slam main draw in the opening round over Irina-Camelia Begu. However, Stojanovic's run came to an end at the hands of Williams, who won the final seven games of the match.
Williams will now face Anastasia Potapova in the third round after the Russian teenager dispatched Timea Babos of Hungary 6-2, 6-4 earlier on Wednesday.
Potapova, 19, the 2016 junior Wimbledon singles champion, had also upset No.24 seed Alison Riske in this week's opening round, en route to her first third-round appearance in a major.
"I couldn’t feel better than now," Potapova said after her win. "It feels very good to be, for the first time, in the third round, especially here in Australia, the first Slam of the year. That’s incredible feelings."
It will be the second consecutive year Williams and Potapova will meet in Melbourne. Williams ousted Potapova in the first round last year 6-0, 6-3.
"Last year, I got such an experience from her," Potapova said. "I felt a bit down in this match, because it’s always tough to play someone for the first time, especially her. But I’m a bit different now, I’ve grown, and I think it’s going to be a very good match, and I’m going to do whatever it takes to get a win or show my best.
"Obviously, she's the greatest player of all time for me. I'm really pumped for it."
Swiatek extends Grand Slam match-win streak to nine straight
A rematch occurred in the second round at Melbourne Park on Wednesday, where reigning Roland Garros champion Iga Swiatek beat Camila Giorgi of Italy 6-2, 6-4.
Swiatek had lost 6-2, 6-0 to Giorgi in their only previous encounter, which came in the same round at the same site two years ago. But this time, the No.15 Swiatek took control of the encounter and stopped the aggressive play of Giorgi in 80 minutes.
The victory continues a strong at the majors for Swiatek, who has now won 18 consecutive sets at Grand Slam level dating back to the French Open.
The 19-year-old Swiatek had 17 winners and an equal number of unforced errors Wednesday, while the go-for-broke style of Giorgi, which has garnered her big upset wins in the past, resulted in 11 winners and 31 unforced errors on the day.
A routine 6-2, 2-0 lead for Swiatek was jarred by a hot streak from Giorgi, as the Italian's powerful shots found the court more consistently. Giorgi reeled off three games in a row and had break points to take a 4-2 lead, but Swiatek fended off the surge by Giorgi to hold for 3-3.
Swiatek used her fierce forehand to break Giorgi in the next game, then cruised home to set up a third-round clash with France’s Fiona Ferro.
Venus injured as Errani moves forward
In a meeting between two laureled veterans, Sara Errani advanced to the third round over an injured Venus Williams 6-1, 6-0.
With Errani leading 5-1, former World No.1 Williams stumbled during a move for an shot by the Italian in the first point of that game. Visibly pained, Williams needed to be treated on both her right ankle and left knee directly afterwards.
Williams came back on court and lost the last game of the opener, but bravely continued in the second set, finding powerful strokes to keep herself in the mix of some close games despite heavily affected movement.
Nevertheless, Errani prevented the seven-time Grand Slam champion from converting any more game points, and she eventually attained her second win in her past two meetings with the American superstar.
Former World No.5 Errani had to go through the qualifying in Dubai to make her first main-draw berth at the Australian Open since 2017. Currently ranked World No.134, this is the 2012 Roland Garros finalist’s first third-round showing at a major since the 2015 US Open.
"I think it's the passion for tennis," Errani said when asked about her perseverance through a long career. "I think that is the real thing. I mean, I love so much tennis, I love playing, so I'm just trying to get through anything."
Next up for Errani will be Hsieh Su-wei, who upset No.8 seed Bianca Andreescu earlier Wednesday. Errani has a 3-0 head-to-head record over Hsieh.