MELBOURNE — Serena Williams confirmed unbelievable sportsmanship as she praised and consoled a tearful Dayana Yastremska, who was no match for the 23-time grand slam champion on the Australian Open.
It was a battle of the ages, with 37-year-old Williams dealing with 18-year-old Yastremska within the third round at Melbourne Park on Saturday.
And Ukrainian teenager Yastremska was outclassed by Williams, who sailed into the final 16 through a 6-2, 6-1 victory at Rod Laver Arena.
Yastremska — the first player born within the 2000s to interrupt into the WTA’s high 100 final season — was overcome with emotion afterwards, prompting a touching second between her and Williams.
“You did superb. You did so effectively,” Williams could be heard saying as she consoled Yastremska.
“You did superb. Don’t cry, you probably did very well.”
“You did superb. You did so effectively. You did superb. Don’t cry. You did very well.”
— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 19, 2019
Williams, who could face high seed Simona Halep or sister Venus within the round of 16, continued to reward Yastremska in her on-court interview.
“I assumed she performed superb, got here out swinging. I felt like she got here out able to go,” the previous world No. 1 added.
“When I used to be youthful I performed against Lindsay Davenport, Martina Hingis, Monica Seles. Everyone I confronted was within the ‘corridor of fame’. Every match was intimidating, however you exit and do the very best you may.
“How could I neglect Venus? She nonetheless intimidates me.”