MELBOURNE (Reuters) – Serena Williams was responding to emails about her clothing line and reorganizing her schedule to spend time with her one-year-old daughter shortly before beating Eugenie Bouchard 6-2 6-2 in the Australian Open second round on Thursday.
Tennis – Australian Open – Second Round – Melbourne Park, Melbourne, Australia, January 17, 2019. Serena Williams of the U.S. in action during the match against Canada’s Eugenie Bouchard. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson
Williams, dubbed the Australian Open favorite by Bouchard shortly after the match, is vying for a record-equaling 24th Grand Slam singles title, and will play 18-year-old Ukrainian Dayana Yastremska in the third round.
The 37-year-old said that, while life was much more demanding than her earlier years on the tour, it wasn’t anything “special”.
“I’m just doing what I feel like working parents do,” said Williams, who was pregnant when she was last at the Australian Open in 2017, which she won.
“They make it work. I’m just like literally everyone else.”
Playing at a level that mocks her sixteenth seeding, the world’s highest paid female athlete started fast in her second round match, winning the first three games.
That wasn’t the only ominous sign for her Canadian opponent, a former Wimbledon finalist who has been trying to retrieve her stellar form of five years ago.
As Bouchard tried to claw her way back into the match, she watched on helplessly as a powerful Williams groundstroke hit the net tape twice, before dribbling over, giving her no time to respond.
Easily beaten in the first set, the Canadian Bouchard pressed early in the second to lead two games to one.
Williams responded in dominant fashion, and did not drop another game on her way to ending the match with a drive-volley winner.
“I always felt rushed, a bit on the back foot, she just has so much power, so it was tough,” Bouchard said.
Reporting by Jonathan Barrett; Editing by Ken Ferris and Edmund Blair