Serena surges into quarters
Serena Williams was at her explosive best as she crushed Alize Cornet 6-2 6-2 to reach the quarter-finals of the Brisbane International on New Year's Day.
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On a day that saw second seed Maria Sharapova withdraw with an injured collarbone and fifth and sixth seeds Sara Errani and Petra Kvitova eliminated, Williams maintain her blistering run of form to dispose of France's Cornet in exactly one hour.
The 15-times Grand Slam winner struck 25 winners, six of which were aces, to register her 33rd win from from her last 34 matches.
"She's (Cornet) a former top 15 player and we've had a tough three-set match before so I knew I had to play really well," Williams said afterwards.
"I tried to be more aggressive and tried to be more consistent."
Former Wimbledon champion Kvitova, a champion in Brisbane two years ago, went down 6-4 7-5 to Russia's Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, while Italy's Errani lost in three sets to 2012 runner-up Daniela Hantuchova 4-6 6-1 7-5.
"It wasn't my best tennis today and I think that it's the beginning of the season, so I hoped that it could be better, for sure," Kvitova said.
"Right now I have still some space where I can improve and I hope that in Melbourne I will improve these things."
In the men's competition, home favourite Lleyton Hewitt overcame a second-set wobble to beat Igor Kunitsyn 6-3 4-6 6-2 in his opener.
Tommy Robredo was also put to the test by American Ryan Harrison in his first-round match before prevailing 6-4 7-6 (6/4).
Denis Istomin looked much more at ease, dropping just three games against Martin Klizan, while John Millman got the better of Tatsuma Ito.
Also in the first round, Alejandro Falla saw off Jesse Levine, Jurgen Melzer went three sets against Denis Kudla and David Goffin saw off Matthew Ebden.
Grigor Dimitrov was a 6-3 7-6 (10/8) winner over Brian Baker of the United States.