MELBOURNE (AFP) - World No. 1 Serena Williams marched into the Australian Open fourth round on Friday, showing no mercy in a 6-1, 6-1 demolition of hapless teenager Daria Kasatkina.
The six-time Melbourne Park winner and defending champion easily out-muscled the overawed Russian on Rod Laver Arena in just 44 minutes, the shortest match of the tennis tournament so far.
It sets her up with a fourth-round clash against another Russian, Margarita Gasparyan, with a quarter-final beckoning against old foe Maria Sharapova - a showdown Williams would be confident of winning.
She has beaten Sharapova in every match they have played since 2004.
"I think I played well today. It was one of those days where everything I did went right," said the 34-year-old, who offered some word of encouragement to Kasatkina.
"She has such a bright future. She's so young and she's headed in the right direction."
Playing on centre court against the top seed at a Grand Slam was a huge occasion for the 18-year-old, who was not only making her debut at the tournament but is on her first-ever trip to Australia.
The teen only played her first WTA tournament last April, but has so far managed to score three wins over top-50 opposition, signalling her promise.
She came into the event as the world's 69th-ranked player but was no match for the composed and massively experienced American, who is gunning to equal Steffi Graf's Open-era record of 22 Grand Slam titles.
The powerful Williams wasted little time in laying down the law, winning a break for a 2-0 lead with Kasatkina barely getting her racquet on the ball as she was pushed around the court.
Kasatkina managed to get on the scoreboard in holding serve for 1-3 but she had no answers to Williams' serve as the American rattled through the set in just 22 minutes.
After her second-round win, Williams said she was pleased by her consistency and lack of errors, and it was a similar story on Friday.
The American, who dropped only three matches in 56 last season, made few mistakes in a dominant display and broke in the first game of the second set with outgunned Kasatkina struggling against the Williams weaponry.
She didn't give up and won a service game to be 1-2, but that was as good as it got as Williams cantered to the finish line.
Williams won three Grand Slams - the Australian and French Opens and Wimbledon - last year which took her to within one of Graf's long-time record of 22.
She claimed her first Australian Open title in 2003, beating sister Venus in the final, and reached her sixth last year when she toppled Sharapova.