MELBOURNE, Australia - Seven-time Grand Slam champion Venus Williams dug deep for the second time in as many rounds at the Australian Open on Thursday, taking out Alizé Cornet in three sets to book her spot in the round of 32, 6-3, 4-6, 6-0.
One game from defeat in her opening round, the American needed over two hours to win her second three-setter of the fortnight so far.
"The first two sets were so tough," Williams said on-court after the match. "I felt like I was controlling the points in the second set, but I was just falling a little bit short.
"I just kept trying to do the same things and not fall a little bit short."
With Williams winning the first five career meetings between the two in straight sets, the last three matches between the two have now stretched the distance.
After dropping serve in a marathon, eight-deuce game to end the second set, the American nonetheless quickly proved on song in the decider.
Breaking quickly to 15, Williams cruised to a final-set bagel as she never faced break point, and booked her spot in the third round of the Australian Open for the fourth time in the past seven years.
"There's just no easy matches, so it feels good to be able to come out on top in these," Williams added.
"I was just focusing in on the...third [set]. Just playing a little bit more aggressively, and just converting a little more."
Up next, Williams will face World No.1 and top seed Simona Halep, after the latter set up the much-anticipatd round of 32 clash with a comeback victory over American Sofia Kenin later in the day on Thursday.
The American leads the overall head-to-head, 3-2, but has lost the last two matches she's played against the Romanian.
The seven-time major winner will look for her first win against Halep since 2013, and her first win against a top-ranked player since she defeated Angelique Kerber at the Miami Open in the spring of 2017.
"I have a couple days to prepare and get ready," Williams said.
"I like to think that I've done all the work before I get to the tournament. It's just about executing it."