Serena Williams used a blistering serve and powerful groundstrokes to overwhelm Evgeniya Rodina of Russia, producing 30 winners (10 aces) en route to a dominant 6-2, 6-2 win.
Williams dominated the first set
Williams, the 25 seed, played some of her best tennis since her return following the birth of her daughter. The seven-time Wimbledon champ got an easy hold before breaking Rodina in the second game. She then ripped through the third game, backing up her break with a hold at love. Williams led three games to none just eight minutes into the match.
The rest of the first set was relatively straightforward, with Williams facing just a single break point. She broke Rodina at love in the eighth game to finish off the set, a game emblematic of the first set as a whole. Williams produced four aces and 17 winners — Rodina had zero and three, respectively — and converted on both of her break opportunities.
Williams did not let up in the second set
In the second set, Williams once again got a simple hold to open and then got a break in the second game. Leading three games to one, Williams got broken back, though, after Rodina came up with a beautiful cross-court passing shot and then a vicious winner to get back on serve.
But Williams came back with a vengeance, breaking Rodina back with three straight winners and a Rodina double fault to go up 4-2. It was all but over by then, with Williams getting an easy hold in the seventh game and getting a break in the eighth to finish the match.
The women’s draw, which began with six mothers, is now down to one. Kim Clijsters at the 2009 US Open semifinals remains the only mother to have beaten Williams in a Grand Slam event.
“It’s really cool,” Williams said of facing a fellow mom. “You can be a mom and you can still play tennis… Empowering each other.”
Camila Giorgi is next
All of the top 10 seeds in the women’s draw are eliminated, an unprecedented occurrence in the Open Era. Williams will face Camila Giorgi of Italy in the quarterfinals. Williams is 3-0 all-time against Giorgi, with the most recent meeting coming at the 2016 Australian Open.
Williams is the lone American left in the women’s draw.
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