'Don't cry, you're still young': Williams comforts teen after thumping

Jan 20, 2019, 01:29
'Don't cry, you're still young': Williams comforts teen after thumping

Yastremska's only previous appearance at a Grand Slam was a first round exit at last year's US Open and she looked like roadkill as soon as Williams raced to a 4-0 lead in the first set.

Dayana Yastremska of Ukraine shows her emotion after losing her third round match against Serena Williams of the United States during day six of the 2019 Australian Open at Melbourne Park on January 19, 2019 in Melbourne, Australia.

The 37-year-old told the teary Ukrainian: "You're awesome". The 37-year-old player, in the sweetest gesture, walked towards Dayana and consoled her while she was crying.

Persistence paid off when Halep converted her fourth break opportunity, darting forward to crack a backhand beyond Williams' reach.

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"I'm here, I'm playing as hard as I can and doing the best I can, which is really all I can do", she said. Halep wins most of her matches defensively and getting the best of long rallies, but Serena counters that with her power and hitting winners that can't be returned.

As an eight-year-old she had cheered Williams on to an Australian Open title a decade ago from her lounge room in Odessa, even simulating the American's strokes with her own racquet as she watched on television. Williams' older sister Venus was beaten by Halep, 6-2, 6-3.

Williams, who kept on course to win a record-equalling 24th Grand Slam, will now face Romanian world number one Simona Halep in the last 16. You also have to question how much Halep has left in the tank considering she has only a few matches under her belt since September.

As I always say, we have to have these uncomfortable conversations so we can start just fighting for having equality throughout'.

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"I think she played pretty flawless today".

"I honestly would love to face the World No. 1", Serena said. Halep broke again to open the second set but this time Williams managed to respond immediately.

Victory sets up a 10th meeting with Williams and first since the 2016 US Open, when the American recorded a fourth successive win over Halep. "I just want to try to play my best tennis because I have nothing to lose against them". By the end of the first set, the teenager had 13 unforced errors, nine more than Serena. Yastremska recalls swinging her racket in the living room at home while watching on TV at age 8 as her favorite player competed.

Further afield if Williams prevails, potentially, are players who have downed Williams at grand slams, Garbine Muguruza, Karolina Pliskova and Naomi Osaka.

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"I thought she played awesome, came out swinging". Her quality of the shots. "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".