Serena Williams roared into the quarter-finals of the Yarra Valley Classic with a 6-1 6-4 victory over Tsvetana Pironkova on a star-studded day of action in Australia.

The 23-time grand slam champion was in fine form at Melbourne Park, where the biggest names in women's tennis were competing across multiple tournaments, as she sealed a straight-sets triumph to continue her preparations for a shot at an eighth Australian Open title.

In doing so the 39-year-old extended her head-to-head record over the Bulgarian to 6-0 and was delighted to get the job done.

"It's definitely nice to get another win," the American said during her on-court interview.

"She's clearly a great player, so it wasn't easy, but it was good to come through."

Speaking at her media conference, Williams added: "Last time it was an incredible three-set match, so today I was like, 'All right, let's really try and focus and learn to do better than last time.'"

World number one Ash Barty had a less straightforward path to the last eight, requiring three sets to see off Marie Bouzkova.

The home hope ultimately prevailed 6-0 4-6 6-3, with second seed and reigning Australian Open champion Sofia Kenin also taken the distance in a 5-7 7-5 6-2 win over Jessica Pegula, as Nadia Podoroska dug deep to down Petra Kvitova 5-7 6-1 7-6 (9-7).

With Barty now set to face Shelby Rogers, Danielle Collins awaits Williams having impressively defeated third seed Karolina Pliskova 7-6 (7-5) 7-6 (7-3), while Garbine Muguruza overcame Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 6-1 6-2 to set up a meeting with Kenin.

In the Gippsland Trophy, the top three seeds all dodged upsets, with two-time grand slam winner Simona Halep, 2019 Australian Open victor Naomi Osaka and 2018 Tour Finals champion Elina Svitolina safely navigating through the last 16.

Fifth-seeded Briton Johanna Konta failed to convert two match points as she succumbed to a 4-6 7-6 (12-10) 7-6 (7-4) defeat to Irina-Camelia Begu.

Meanwhile, at the Grampians Trophy there were wins for Anett Kontaveit, Jennifer Brady and Angelique Kerber.

World number one Ash Barty won her first WTA Tour match in almost a year at the Yarra Valley Classic, while Naomi Osaka got her Gippsland Trophy campaign going with a victory.

Barty sat out the vast majority of the 2020 season due to the coronavirus pandemic but marked her comeback with a 6-3 6-3 success over Ana Bogdan at Melbourne Park.

The Australian will face Marie Bouzkova next after the Czech defeated Aliona Bolsova on Tuesday.

Garbine Muguruza raced past Alison Van Uytvanck 6-2 6-0 and she was joined in the third round by Petra Kvitova, who battled to beat Venus Williams 7-6 (8-6) 7-5.

Reigning Australian Open champion Sofia Kenin, who was 7-5 up when Camila Giorgi retired from their match, is also through.

In her first match since winning the US Open in September, Osaka cruised to a 6-2 6-2 success against Alize Cornet and will meet Katie Boulter after the Briton came from a set down to beat Coco Gauff 3-6 7-5 6-2.

Iga Swiatek was also making her first appearance since winning a major title – the French Open last October – and after a slow start won 10 of the final 11 games to beat Kaja Juvan 2-6 6-2 6-1.

Aryna Sabalenka ended 2020 with back-to-back titles in Ostrava and Linz, before kicking off the new year with another trophy in Abu Dhabi. However, her run of 15 straight victories ended with a 1-6 6-2 1-6 loss to Kaia Kanepi.

Bianca Andreescu was due to gear up for the Australian Open by contesting the Grampians Trophy this week but withdrew from the competition to focus on training instead.

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