Serena Williams battles her way into the last-16 of the Australian Open after a scrappy 7-6(5) 6-2 win over Anastasia Potapova on Rod Laver Arena.
Williams, pursuing her 24th Grand Slam, had parted with just five games to reach the third round, but she was forced into her first tie-break of the tournament in the first set after a slow start against her Russian opponent.
Serena improved as the contest progressed and will play in-form Aryna Sabalenka in the next round.
Potapova was serving for the set at 5-4 up and got herself two break points, but Serena recovered to hold before dragging her 19-year-old opponent into a tie-break.
Serena went 5-3 down in the decider before rattling off four points in a row to somehow steal the set from Potapova’s grasp.
After Potapova broke in the opening game of the second set, the number ten seed broke straight back before going one up two games later.
Serena was making far less unforced errors than she was in the first set and settled into her usual powerful rhythm that ultimately sealed her spot in the round-of-16.
“It feels good to be in the fourth round.
“It felt good to get through that match, it felt like I didn’t come out of the starting blocks like I would’ve liked to since I’ve been playing here but it’s about surviving and playing better every round.”
On her outfit: “It’s so wild I keep debating which one is the best, I think this is one of the best ones. I keep thinking ‘how do I outdo it?’ but I think we outdid it this time it was pretty awesome.
“Nike had this incredible idea. I can’t take any credit for it. They came out with something fresh and were inspired by Flo-Jo who was an amazing American track star and she did have the one that was a little bit higher [on the leg] but I opted not to have that because I didn’t want to get any more fines so I thought it was best I had more of a leg out.”