01/19 04:12 CST 'Don't cry': Serena consoles Australian Open foe; Halep next
'Don't cry': Serena consoles Australian Open foe; Halep next
By HOWARD FENDRICH
AP Tennis Writer
MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) --- It was all a bit overwhelming for the latest
opponent who could do nothing to slow Serena Williams at the Australian Open.
So Dayana Yastremska, an 18-year-old from Ukraine, found herself wiping away
tears as she walked to the net.
Williams knows what it's like to be the one weeping after a loss. She put her
right hand on Yastremska's shoulder and consoled her by saying, "You're so
young. You did amazing. Don't cry." Then they embraced, and Williams patted
Yastremska on the back.
"I could tell she was quite upset. I kind of liked that. It shows she wasn't
just there to play a good match --- she was there to win. She wanted to win.
That really broke my heart," Williams said. "I think she's a good talent. It's
good to see that attitude."
Maybe she will be tested in the fourth round, because no one has come close to
making her work too hard so far, including the 6-2, 6-1 victory on Saturday.
Next up, though, is a far more accomplished player, No. 1-ranked Simona Halep,
who took control by reeling off six consecutive games in one stretch and
advanced by beating Williams' sister, Venus, 6-2, 6-3.
After two tough three-set tussles, Halep had a much easier time of things,
making only 12 unforced errors while Venus had 33. Halep played with her left
thigh taped, but moved around the court well.
For Venus, this is the fifth consecutive Grand Slam tournament she exits before
the fourth round.
Looking ahead, Halep said: "It's going to be a bigger challenge. I am ready to
She's lost eight of her past nine matches against Serena.
Not only has Serena won every set she played this week --- and 20 in a row at
Melbourne Park, dating to the start of her 2017 run to the title (she sat out
last year's tournament after having a baby) --- but Williams has ceded a total
of only nine games through three victories.
Unlike any of Serena's foes until now, Halep has won a major title, last year's
French Open. She's been to three other Grand Slam finals, including a year ago
at the Australian Open.
That resume pales in comparison to Serena's, of course.
She is bidding for an eighth trophy at the Australian Open and record-tying
24th Grand Slam title in all.
Other women's fourth-rounders set up for Monday: Naomi Osaka, the woman who
beat Serena in last year's chaotic U.S. Open final, against No. 13 Anastasija
Sevastova, and 2017 U.S. Open runner-up Madison Keys against No. 6 Elina
Men's matchups Monday with a quarterfinal berth at stake will be: No. 1 Novak
Djokovic against No. 15 Daniil Medvedev, and 2014 U.S. Open finalist Kei
Nishikori against No. 23 Pablo Carreno-Busta. Milos Raonic, the runner-up at
Wimbledon in 2016, also advanced, awaiting the winner of the night match
between No. 4 Alexander Zverev and Australian wild-card entry Alex Bolt.
Serena complimented Yastremska in the locker room after their match.
"She said, like, 'You're young, you're very good and you will be a good player
in the future.' It's nice to hear those words from a legend," said the
57th-ranked Yastremska, who eliminated 2011 U.S. Open champion Sam Stosur in
the first round and 23rd-seeded Carla Suarez Navarro in the second.
"If she thinks so," Yastremska added about Williams, "then maybe that's true."
Williams grabbed a pair of service breaks and a 4-0 lead after less than 15
minutes and was well on her way to yet another easy-looking win.
Right from the start, Yastremska appeared a bit jittery, missing 9 of 10 first
serves and double-faulting three times while getting broken in each of her
opening two service games. By the end of the first set, the teenager had 13
unforced errors, nine more than Serena.
It didn't get much better in the second set, and Serena wound up with eight
aces while facing zero break points, and a 20-13 ratio of winners to unforced
Yastremska was born in 2000, the year after Serena won her initial major, and
grew up cheering for someone she calls "a legend." Yastremska recalls swinging
her racket in the living room at home while watching on TV at age 8 as her
favorite player competed.
Surely, everything felt a tad different up-close-and-personal with the
37-year-old American in Rod Laver Arena.
What separates Williams from other top players?
"Everything. Small details. Her discipline. Her quality of the shots. How
(committed) she is to every ball," Yastremska said. "She (is) completely
different. I don't know how to describe that. It's just there's something
special. What I'm trying to do is to go to the level that people are going to
talk about me the same, that I have something special."
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