Venus Williams cruised into the fourth round on Friday, but she next faces a tough opponent in Timea Bacsinszky.
For the first time since early 2011, Venus Williams is playing a major without her sister, Serena, also in the draw. While it might change her rhythms personally, it might have a positive impact on her professionally.
A few weeks from turning 37, Venus is squarely in the "serious contenders" category. She took another step today with a crisp, drama-absent, straight-set win over Elise Mertens of Belgium (surely the only player to list her pet crane in the media guide.) Venus is moving well, stroking the ball well, betraying full comfort on clay, and benefiting from a day off between matches.
In the fourth round, her next match pits her against Timea Bacsinszky, the player who beat her here last year.