MELBOURNE, Australia -- Just before she walked on court, Greta Arn said she was looking forward to the "privilege" of playing her first match against Serena Williams. A privilege to lose, as it turned out.
The 13-time major singles champion overpowered Arn, 6-1, 6-1, in 59 minutes Saturday for her 17th straight win at the Australian Open.
Williams completed her third-round victory after Arn double-faulted twice to end the match. Williams looked briefly taken aback and smiled as the players shook hands at the net,
"I told her it was an honor to play against you," the 32-year-old Arn said. "And she told me, 'Oh, you are so sweet.' I'm a big fan of hers. She's the real No. 1." Williams, who racked up her 501st career match win, is hoping to become the second woman over age 30 to win the Australian title in the Open era.
"It makes me feel really good," she said. "I'm really proud of the work that I've been doing for so many years, all the hard work."
Arn says "everybody knows" if Williams hits top form she will win the Australian Open, where she hasn't lost since 2008. She won back-to-back titles in 2009 and 2010 and was unable to defend her title last year while she recovered from two foot surgeries.
Because of her No. 12 ranking, Williams can't take the No. 1 spot from Caroline Wozniacki with a win at Melbourne. However, No. 2 Petra Kvitova, No. 3 Victoria Azarenka and No. 4 Maria Sharapova could walk away with the top ranking if they win the tournament.