‘No ballerina’ Williams brings up 500 wins

2012-01-19 09:48

Serena Williams has sailed into the Australian Open’s third round with her 500th career win.

The five-time champion, ranked 12th, brushed off fears about her injured ankle in the final game of her 6-0, 6-4 win yesterday against Czech opponent Barbora Zahlavova Strycova.

“It’s fine, I just have really wobbly ankles,” she said. “I wasn’t meant to be a ballerina.

“There was no extra pain,” she said of the fall. “I twisted it, but it’s all taped up, so the tape really, really helped.

“It’s totally fine, it was my good ankle, so I’m good. I have two good ankles.”

The 30-year-old American, who won the Australian Open in 2009 and 2010 but missed last year’s tournament through injury, has now won 16 consecutive matches at Melbourne Park.

She said she was aware of the approaching milestone heading into the tournament.

“It’s the ultimate, it’s really, really cool. The first thing I asked, of course, is there anyone that achieved a thousand,” Williams said.

“I guess not. I never will get there either, but it’s really cool, 500 is a lot of matches to play, let alone to win, so it’s pretty cool.

“My target is just to keep going. I never even thought about 500 till I got to Australia and realised after Brisbane I was at 498 so then I was like, oh, I definitely want to get to 500.

“Now I don’t know what the next milestone is. I don’t know.”

The victory was also Williams’s 210th at a grand slam, putting her equal fourth with sister Venus and Arantxa Sanchez Vicario on the all-time list, behind Martina Navratilova (306), Chris Evert (298) and Steffi Graf (278).

Williams had started slowly in her first round match against Tamira Paszek but she raced out of the blocks on Thursday, wrapping up the first set in a quickfire 22 minutes.

She looked headed for an equally emphatic second set before Zahlavova Strycova battled hard, pulling back to 4-5 and holding three game points to get to 5-5.

However, Williams stepped up a gear and won the next five points to secure the win, despite her heavy fall in the last game.

“She just started playing better and doing different things, which is always expected when your opponent wins the first set six-love,” Williams said.

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