• Australian Open, Day Six

Serena looking ominous in Open

ESPN staff
January 23, 2010
Serena Williams looks a good bet to defend her title © Getty Images

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Day six in pictures

Serena Williams cruised past Spanish youngster Carla Suarez Navarro 6-0 6-3 and into the Australian Open fourth round on Saturday, having now dropped no sets and just nine games in reaching the last 16.

The final game of the first set took eight set points before Williams sealed it and only after she had spent time at the back of the course talking to herself.

"It was definitely the toughest six-love set. Especially in the end because she was really fighting for it," Williams said. "I didn't want to lose that game... (so) I thought, 'okay, Serena, don't put too much pressure on this. Worst case scenario it will be 5-1'. At the end of day I'm glad I didn't lose that game."

The defending champion and four-time winner in Melbourne now faces top Australian player Sam Stosur in what will be her sternest test so far - particularly given the popular American will for once have the crowd against her.

Stosur's status as 13th seed does not take into account the parochial home support at Melbourne Park, and she'll need all the help she can get against Williams despite seeing off 29-year-old Italian Alberta Brianti 6-4 6-1 with little fuss early on Saturday.

Australia's No.1 player said she would try to up her game to match Serena's power: "Playing someone like Serena, you have to be on your game," she said. "I'm going to have to serve well and take every opportunity that presents itself. As soon as I get that shorter ball, a half-sniff to do something, then I've got to do it. I can't let those kind of chances go by and wait for a second chance."

The tournament saw its first Williams v Australia clash when Serena's sister Venus Williams took out Casey Dellacqua 6-1 7-6 in front of a packed Rod Laver Arena. It was a tough task for Venus as she struggled to find rhythm with her serve and forehand, but Dellacqua was never able to claim the big points, converting just one of eight break points. Venus was jovial after the match but she will need to find improvement on this performance, where a more ruthless opponent might have ended her hopes of a first Australian Open crown.

Tathiana Garbin tried everything but it was not enough to beat Victoria Azarenka © Getty Images

Victoria Azarenka set up an all top ten fourth-round clash with Vera Zvonareva after making short work of beating Italian Tathiana Garbin in straight sets. An early rain delay saw the roof closed at the Hisense Arena but that didn't distract seventh-seed Azarenka as she completed a 6-0 6-2 demolition job in just over an hour.

Zvonareva saw off a spirited fightback from Ana Ivanovic's conqueror, Gisela Dulko, to claim a 6-1 7-5 third round win. Dulko conceded the first set in half an hour before she got going, but ninth-seed Zvonareva was able to match anything the Argentine upstart was able to dish up.

Na Li of China, the 16th seed, moved into the last 16 with a battling 7-5 3-6 6-2 win over Daniela Hantuchova. Both players produced tennis of the highest order and the contest was on a knife edge for much of the two hours and 18 minutes. Li deserves great credit for keeping her composure as Hantuchova cranked things up in the second set and 29 winners helped her through.

Caroline Wozniacki is viewed by some shrewd judges as being capable of upsetting the Williams sisters and the Danish No.4 seed was mighty impressive in disposing of Shahar Peer 6-4 6-0.

Francesca Schiavone sent her higher-ranked rival Agnieszka Radwanska crashing out, with the Italian claiming a 6-2 6-2 victory.

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