Australian Open

Classy Venus Williams kills off Chinese hopes with Duan Yingying hiding

The 13th seed is in a different league in 6-1, 6-0 win that catapults her into a fourth-round match with German Mona Barthel

PUBLISHED : Friday, 20 January, 2017, 6:33pm
UPDATED : Friday, 20 January, 2017, 6:33pm

Venus Williams ended Chinese hopes at the Australian Open on Friday, swatting aside Duan Yingying to make the fourth round of the season’s opening grand slam for a 10th time.

The 13th seed was in a different league, spanking Duan 6-1, 6-0 on Margaret Court Arena and showing no signs of the elbow injury that forced her out of the doubles with sister Serena.

She will next play either Australian hope Ashleigh Barty, who has returned to tennis after a temporary career switch to cricket, or German qualifier Mona Barthel.

If she comes through that encounter, a potential quarter-final with fellow old-timer Svetlana Kuznetsova could await her.

“She can really hit the ball and I’m lucky to have more experience out there today,” said Williams, after spending less than 60 minutes on court.

Remarkably Duan, ranked 87, admitted ahead of the match that she’d never seen Williams play, and would be relying heavily on her coach’s guidance.

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This is despite the seven-time grand slam winner being one of the game’s most prominent players over the past two decades.

She paid dearly against a veteran who is still a dangerous force, making the fourth round or better at three of the four grand slams last year.

Williams, 36, exploited Duan’s weak serve and apparent nerves, racing to a quick break in the opening set, with no way back for the Chinese star. She won a consolation game but that was as good as it got.

Duan, normally an aggressive and powerful player, was never able to get into her groove as Williams dictated the points, pushing her around the court.

I’ve never seen Venus Williams play, says China’s Duan Yingying ahead of third-round clash

The American, the oldest player in the women’s draw and at her 17th Australian Open, didn’t give an inch, breaking Duan’s first service game in the second set and romping to an easy victory.

Despite the loss, it was an encouraging tournament for the Chinese number five, the last player from her country standing having reached a grand slam third round for the first time.