Serena Williams and Novak Djokovic’s relentless drive towards more Australian Open glory cranked up another gear Saturday with third round drubbings, as Naomi Osaka and Elina Svitolina survived big scares to stay in the hunt.
On day six at Melbourne Park, 23-time Grand Slam Williams crushed Ukrainian teenager Dayana Yastremska 6-2, 6-1 before consoling her at the net as she burst into tears.The 37-year-old, seeded 16, has dropped just nine games in her three matches so far and will face either sister Venus or world number one Simona Halep for a berth in the quarter-finals.
Fourteen-time Grand Slam winner and top seed Djokovic is gunning for a record seventh crown at the Open.
He dropped a set for the first time this year against fast-rising Canadian Denis Shapovalov, before demolishing him in the final stanza to win 6-3, 6-4, 4-6, 6-0.
Djokovic’s victory means he is guaranteed to stay world number one when the new rankings are released after the tournament.
He next plays another young gun, Russia’s 15th seed Daniil Medvedev, who eased past 21st seed David Goffin and has yet to drop a set.
Fourth-seeded Osaka looked down and out against Taiwanese veteran Hsieh Su-wei before battling back to win 7-5, 4-6, 6-1 and set up a last 16 meeting with Latvia’s Anastasija Sevastova.