Australian Open: 'Totally relaxed' Serena Williams cruises into third round, Petra Kvitova 'hurting' after exit

Tunisia's Jabeur also through to the next round after a solid win over Schmiedlova

United States' Serena Williams makes a forehand return to Serbia's Nina Stojanovic during their second round match at the Australian Open tennis championship in Melbourne, Australia, Wednesday, Feb. 10, 2021.(AP Photo/Rick Rycroft)
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Serena Williams said she is trying to find the right "balance" between being intense and relaxed as the American great marched into the third round of the Australian Open on Wednesday.

Williams, pursuing a record-equalling 24th Grand Slam title, has so far been in ominous form in Melbourne, her latest performance producing a 6-3, 6-0 thrashing of Nina Stojanovic.

"I wasn't thinking as much in the second, as I was in the first," said 10th seed Williams, who hit 27 winners. "I just think when I'm not thinking it's more or less like I'm just totally relaxed. Even with my serve, I overthink it. But when I don't think about it... it goes in."

Williams, however, was conscious about not letting her focus wander.

"It's a balance because sometimes that's a ... time to slack off and to lose focus," she said. "So, it's really about finding that key balance there for me."

While Williams made simple progress to the next round, it was a different story for sister Venus, who crashed out to Italy's Sara Errani 6-1, 6-0 after sustaining injuries during the match.

Errani will face Taiwan's Hsieh Su-wei, who claimed one of the shock results of the round with a 6-3, 6-2 win over ninth seed Bianca Andreescu, who is among a select group of players to so far prevent Williams from landing the elusive 24th major having defeated the American in the 2019 US Open final.

Another is Naomi Osaka, who also beat Williams in New York in 2018, and the Japanese third seed is still very much alive at the Australian Open after her 6-2, 6-3 win over France's Caroline Garcia.

epa09000305 Ons Jabeur of Tunisia in action against Anna Karolina Schmiedlova of Slovakia in the second round match on day 3 of the Australian Open Grand Slam tennis tournament in Melbourne, Australia, 10 February 2021.  EPA/JASON O'BRIEN
Ons Jabeur during her straight sets win over Anna Karolina Schmiedlova. EPA

The three-time Grand Slam champion always looked comfortable against a potentially dangerous opponent, but she revealed that nerves were not too far from the surface.

"Going into this match I was really nervous and I actually had a really bad dream about it," Osaka said. "For me, my dreams are very telling of the future. Like, usually I have dreams and they come true. Last night I had a dream that I lost this match, and I really didn't feel good about it."

Osaka, the 2019 Melbourne champion, will face another test of her title credentials in the third round when she faces Ons Jabeur.

The 26-year-old Tunisian made history 12 months ago as the first Arab woman to reach a Grand Slam quarter-final and she looked in the mood to repeat her feats with a solid 6-3, 6-2 win over Slovakia's Anna Karolina Schmiedlova.

However, it was the end of the road for two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova. The Czech ninth seed hit back strongly after losing the first set to Romania's Sorana Cirstea, but her challenge fell apart as she went out 6-4, 1-6, 6-1.

"It's a little painful and I'm really disappointed about my loss ... really hurting" Kvitova, 30, said. "I didn't really bring the best tennis today."

Petra Kvitova of the Czech Republic leaves the court following her second round loss to Romania's Sorana Cirstea at the Australian Open tennis championship in Melbourne, Australia, Wednesday, Feb. 10, 2021.(AP Photo/Rick Rycroft)
Petra Kvitova leaves the court following her second round loss to Sorana Cirstea. AP