Serena Williams rolls into Aussie Open last 16

Venus showed more fight in the second and there was an early trade of breaks before Halep broke again to go 4-3 up before converting her first match point with a forehand victor down the line to seal victory in an hour and 17 minutes.

Things could finally get interesting in Week 2, though, as Williams bids for an eighth trophy at the Australian Open and record-tying 24th Grand Slam title in all: She will face either her older sister, Venus, or No. 1-ranked Simona Halep next.

The 37-year-old told the teary Ukrainian: "You're unbelievable".

"I think I have to play similar, if I can", Halep said, referring to her clash against the victor of 23 Grand Slam titles.

After comforting the world No.57 on court, Williams took her aside in the changing rooms to exchange some more words of encouragement.

"I'm here, I'm playing as hard as I can and doing the best I can, which is really all I can do", she said.

"She played pretty flawless", said Venus, who exits before the fourth round at a fifth consecutive Grand Slam tournament.

A mother to one-year-old daughter Alexis Olympia, Williams also played mom to Yastremska when they approached one another to shake hands after the 67-minute contest on Rod Laver Arena. Williams' older sister Venus was beaten by Halep, 6-2, 6-3.

Despite a reputation that precedes her when she walks onto center court, Williams is now ranked No. 16 in the world.

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Halep has struggled for form and fitness since her first-round defeat at the U.S. Open last August and came to Australia on a five-match losing streak and without a coach after long-serving Darren Cahill left for "family reasons".

"Only 12 errors. Unfortunately, I had nearly three times as many", Venus said.

"I don't know if Serena needs my help or not", Venus said. Halep broke again to open the second set but this time Williams managed to respond immediately. "Young girls, young women, just want to go out there and do their best and want to win".

"There's no time for that, I'm sorry to say", the Russian responded when asked if she had any sympathy for her opponent.

Serena Williams is coming off a straight sets win over Dayana Yastremska that took 15 games to decide.

It didn't get much better in the second set, and Serena wound up with eight aces while facing zero break points, and a 20-13 ratio of winners to unforced errors.

Williams has dropped a mere nine games through three rounds - her lowest tally at a major since the 2013 US Open, which she won - but will likely encounter greater resistance the rest of the way. Unfortunately, it wasn't almost enough to stop the 37-year-old easing to victory.

What separates Williams from other top players? Her quality of the shots. "She (is) completely different. I will see what is going to happen on court".

(Copyright © 2015. All Rights Reserved.)
 
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