UPDATE 9pm: Fireworks helped keep a sleep-deprived Serena Williams awake on New Year’s Eve but she unleashed some crackers of her own on Tuesday night – breaking the 200km/h barrier on serve.
Williams fired down six aces against a helpless Alize Cornet as she waltzed into the quarterfinals of the Brisbane International with a 6-2, 6-2 thumping.
But the world No.3 was most pleased by one of the fastest registered serves of her career – a 200km/h bullet – in the fourth game of the second set that epitomised her awesome power.
“It went in,” she enthused after the 60-minute romp. “It was like `Oh my God!’. I’ve hit 200 before but they never go in so I was really excited that it went in.”
Williams’ fastest serve in tournament play is recorded at 207.6km/h, set four years ago, which is marginally slower than the record of German Sabine Lisicki (210).
Her serving, often pushing 200km/h, wasn’t the only feature of her second-round victory over the French world No.44.
Showing the same ruthless efficiency, which fired her to 32 wins from her last 33 matches of a remarkable 2012, Williams controlled the match from the outset.
“This court plays so well, it just makes this amazing sound when I hit the ball and I kind of like it,” she said.
The 15-time Grand Slam champion admitted she couldn’t sleep the previous night as the rest of Brisbane’s new year fireworks helped keep her up.
“I’ve been having insomnia,” she said. “I heard all the fire-crackers and I would have loved to have seen it but I had a match today so I didn’t do anything fun.
“I was actually playing Uno on my iPad which was kind of fun. I don’t know, I’m a geek.”
Williams will now play the winner of Wednesday’s match between compatriot Sloane Stephens and Swede Sofia Arviddson, who upset Samantha Stosur in the first round.
A mouth-watering semifinal looms against world No.1 Victoria Azarenka.
The 31-year-old whipped through the first set in half an hour, displaying the same business-like demeanour she showed in her 59-minute first-round thumping of Varvara Lepchenko.
She broke Cornet in the fifth game of the second set and then reeled off a 193km/h ace on her way to the next three games.