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Big fish Serena targets a sixth Aust Open
Jim Morton
07:10 AEST Sun Jan 6 2013

Frightened by the fish, Serena Williams admitted she was too afraid to swim in the ocean during her recent training camp in Mauritius.

But it will be Williams who'll be scaring the daylights out of the women's field at the Australian Open after ruthlessly showcasing her power and precision at the Brisbane International.

The American superstar warmed up perfectly for a possible sixth major at Melbourne Park with a 50-minute demolition of Russian Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova on Saturday night.

Her 6-2 6-1 final triumph meant she didn't lose a set at the year-opening tournament and conceded just 17 games in total on Pat Rafter Arena.

Pavlyuchenkova admitted she was clueless.

Williams now has a 35-1 record since her shock first-round loss at the French Open, which shook her into career-best form.

Under new coach Patrick Mouratoglou, the 15-time grand slam champion is reaching towards the heights of her career-best 2002-03 period when she claimed the "Serena Slam", capped by the first of her five Australian Open titles.

Mouratoglou claims she's only getting better at 31 and, on her recent form - triumphing at Wimbledon, the Olympics, US Open and the year-ending WTA Championships - it's hard to disagree.

The world No.3 can become the rightful No.1 with victory in Melbourne in three weeks time and she feels she's done everything right to prepare.

Her Mauritius camp had her arrive in Brisbane in peak fitness despite recent surgery on both big toes.

But swimming was not on the menu.

"I ended up being really afraid of everything," she said in Brisbane.

"I was afraid of the ocean. Everyone swam with the dolphins; I thought they would bite me, so I refused.

"I ended up barely being able to snorkel because I was afraid of the fish."

Now it's Williams who's the big shark in Melbourne and the fear will on the other side of the net.


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