BRISBANE – If Serena Williams plays as well as she did in destroying Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 6-2, 6-1 to win the Brisbane International, you may as well hand her her sixth Australian Open crown in three weeks time. In an extraordinarily clean and powerful performance, Williams wiped the court with your young Russian in just 51 minutes.
She put on a serving, returning and groundstroke clinic, winning 50 of 76 points, and never facing a break point, which is no surprise considering that she won 20 of her 22 first serve points. She was in a groove from first ball on, spotting her serve wherever she wanted to, quick fisting return winners, and moving and reacting quickly off the ground whenever the ambitious Pavlyuchenkova torched hard groundies at her. She was never under threat in the match, and was particularly advantageous.
She broke the Russian to 4-2 in the first set with a fiery forehand down the line return of serve winner off a good slice serve. She held in the next game with a 118-MPH ace, and then won the set when she broke Pavlyuchenkova at love when the 21 year old double faulted. Serena opened the second set by holding with second serve ace out wide. She broke Pavlyuchenkova in the next game with a nifty forehand volley winner. She then went head 3-0 when she took a huge return of serve from Pavlyuchenkova and reflexed a backhand winner. Why don’t we jump ahead to the final game, where Williams won the contest with heavily topspun, short angled backhand crosscourt.