Serena Williams played with the unrelenting urgency of a woman who had a prior engagement and no interest in staying on Centre Court for a moment longer than was strictly necessary, beating Timea Babos in 59 minutes to set up a third-round match against Britain’s Heather Watson on Friday.
The world No1 was brutally professional in her 6-4, 6-1 win over Babos, breaking the Hungarian early in both sets and making sure that an upset was never on the cards. Babos, the world No93, occasionally lobbed a few boulders over the net to keep Williams on her toes, yet knew she was always fighting a losing battle.
For Williams, it was another small step towards completing a historic calendar slam. No woman has won all four majors since Steffi Graf managed it in 1988 and if any of her rivals were hoping that the added pressure would have a negative effect on Williams in her opening two matches, they were sorely mistaken.
“I’m definitely playing well, which I never say,” Williams said. “I had two really tough matches straight off the bat so I had to pick up my game. She has such a good serve. I really had no option but to play well so far.”
There was intrigue when Williams and her sister Venus pulled out of the women’s doubles on Tuesday. It later emerged that Serena was feeling sore after beating Margarita Gasparyan in the first round on Monday. Yet she looked fresh against Babos.
Williams is already looking ahead to the challenge of playing Watson after the British No1’s victory over Daniela Hantuchova earlier in the day. “She plays so well on the grass and she loves playing at home,” Williams said. “I never like playing the Brits at home. I’m just in these Championships to have fun.”
Only here to have fun? Williams was fooling no one.
This article was written by Jacob Steinberg at Wimbledon, for theguardian.com on Wednesday 1st July 2015 20.24 Europe/Londonguardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010