No.2 seed Serena Williams faced few problems against fellow American Nicole Gibbs to reach the second week of the Australian Open; Czech veteran Barbora Strycova looms next.
WTA Staff

MELBOURNE, Australia - Six-time Australian Open champion Serena Williams breezed into the second week Down Under, defeating countrywoman Nicole Gibbs, 6-1, 6-3.

"I feel like I have been able to do pretty good," she said in her post-match press conference. "I have been doing the things I have been doing in practice, and hopefully I can build up on this.

"That's all I want to do."

While Serena was celebrating her 19th anniversary of the first time she played on Rod Laver Arena (1998, against sister Venus), Gibbs was not only making her debut on Melbourne's biggest court, but she was also in the midst of a career-best result Down Under - knocking out No.25 seed Timea Babos and Irina Falconi earlier this week.

The former World No.1 came into Saturday's match well-tested with wins over a pair of former Top 10 players in Belinda Bencic and Lucie Safarova, and was in imperious form from start to finish.

"I was so pumped up going against my first two opponents, but I think that helped me out today. She started out really, really well, with a lot of energy."

Hitting 17 winners and four aces during the 63 minute match, Serena came to net 13 times, winning 12 of those points. Though she was broken in her first attempt serving for the match, the experienced American booked her spot in the next round shortly thereafter, reaching the second week in her last nine appearances in Australia.

Looming in the next round is No.16 seed, Czech veteran Barbora Strycova.

"I have seen her play a lot. She's always playing. Venus has played her a few times. I saw her play in Sydney. She's super fit. She has a good game. She's very aggressive, so that would be nice to play.

"I don't have anything to prove in this tournament here. Just, you know, doing the best I can.

"Obviously I'm here for one reason. But at the end of the day, this is all bonus for me and I look forward to playing her. I'm ready for her."

The 2016 Fed Cup heroine won a string of points in the second set of her match against No.21 seed Caroline Garcia, recovering from a 5-3 deficit to win, 6-2, 7-5.

"I won like 16 points from losing 3-5, 15-40," Strycova said in her post-match press conference. "I didn't even count and my coach told me so. I was kind of in a zone, so I was very happy about my performance.

"If it's Serena, I'm looking forward to that match. That's why you train. That's why you work hard, to play these matches on these stages and against the best one."

After beating Garcia, Strycova played an interesting guessing game up in the Twitter Blue Room, guessing the identity of several tennis-themed stuffed animals: