Serena Williams was in all kinds of trouble against an old rival in her second round match, but once she sunk her teeth into it, there was just no stopping her.
WTA Staff

MELBOURNE, Australia - Serena Williams was in all kinds of trouble early on against Vera Zvonareva, falling behind 5-3 in the first set and facing three set points, but the World No.1 fought them all off and went from strength to strength, eventually cruising into the third round, 7-5, 6-0.

Zvonareva was a familiar opponent for Williams - the Russian has been very in and out of the game over the last few years, mainly due to a right shoulder injury, but the two players had played nine times before that, with Zvonareva beating Williams at Cincinnati in 2006 and Eastbourne in 2011.

Early on in this, their 10th meeting, Zvonareva looked like she could pull it off again, staying even with Williams through 3-all before breaking for 4-3, then holding for 5-3. She even brought up three set points in that 5-3 game with Williams falling behind 15-40 and ad-out on her service game.

But the No.1-seeded Williams fought them all off and little by little built more and more momentum, eventually reeling off the next 10 games in a row - most of them quick games - to finish it.

Williams was asked in her post-match press conference whether things clicked halfway through.

"Yeah, things really clicked," Williams said.

"I had no other option but for things to click. I just had to start playing better."

Zvonareva, a two-time Grand Slam finalist and former World No.2, was obviously a tough draw - but she did come into the tournament ranked No.203 and unseeded, so a possible second round draw.

"That's one thing about the Grand Slams," Williams said. "You have to be ready for anyone at any stage. And playing Vera is like, I had to get my mind like, 'Serena, this girl has been ranked as high as No.2 in the world, she's been on the tour and she's a very quality player, she knows what to do. She knows how to win.' So I had to kind of snap into that kind of mentality on the court today."

Next up for Williams is No.26 seed and WTA Rising Star Elina Svitolina, who won a pair of tight tie-break sets against another American, Nicole Gibbs, to reach the third round, 7-6(3), 7-6(6).

Svitolina seems on the verge of a big breakthrough - she's scored her first three Top 10 wins over the last six months - and she's hungry to reach the second week of a Grand Slam for the first time.

Williams beat Svitolina in their only previous meeting, though Svitolina was No.171 at the time.