Vintage Venus turns up the heat in Paris

Venus Williams continues to show age is just a number as she sailed into the fourth round of Roland Garros on Friday.

The 36-year-old American looked in total control as she dispatched Belgium's Elise Mertens 6-3, 6-1 in just over an hour.

Williams was all jokes with the press afterwards, saying she no longer has the time to get involved in long, drawn out matches.

"I'm not looking for any tests. I'm looking to run away with it," she quipped. 

"My goal is to improve every round and today I feel like I improved even more than the last rounds and play the big points well.

"I feel confident that the next round is going to be another opportunity to improve and to play better and better. That's my focus at the moment."

Clay hasn't always been her favourite surface, but Williams reached the Italian Open quarter-finals a fortnight ago, and now finds herself in the fourth round at Roland Garros for the second year running.

"I have played well here a number of times. Sometimes it didn't work out. Sometimes clay can be tricky. Sometimes a player catches fire and you don't have a good day," she said.

"I think this year I'm playing really well strategically, and I'm enjoying it."

The match against Mertens was a one-sided contest. Williams raced into a 5-1 lead in each set, breaking serve six times in all, and while her opponent fought back somewhat in the opener, she couldn't do the same in the second.

Next up for Williams is 2015 French Open semifinalist Timea Bacsinszky in a repeat of her fourth round match in Paris last year, which was won by the Swiss star.

"She's had great results in this tournament two years in a row, and last year she played flawless. She deserved the win.

"This year, of course, I have an opportunity to play better and that's what I'm going to try to do."

Earlier on Friday, defending champion Garbine Muguruza booked her place in the fourth round, while there were also third-round victories for Kristina Mladenovic, Svetlana Kuznetsova and Sam Stosur.

The match between Caroline Wozniacki and CiCi Bellis will resume on Saturday after being stopped due to bad light.

Wozniacki won the first set 6-2 but Bellis is leading 5-2 in the second.

All of Friday's third-round results

11-Carolina Wozniacki vs CiCi Bellis (U.S.) 6-2 2-5 (suspended)
30-Timea Bacsinszky (Switzerland) beat Ons Jabeur (Tunisia) 6-2 6-2
10-Venus Williams (U.S.) beat Elise Mertens (Belgium) 6-3 6-1                   
8-Svetlana Kuznetsova (Russia) beat 32-Zhang Shuai (China) 7-6(5) 4-6 7-5       
13-Kristina Mladenovic (France) beat Shelby Rogers (U.S.) 7-5 4-6 8-6           
23-Samantha Stosur (Australia) beat Bethanie Mattek-Sands (U.S.) 6-2 6-2        
4-Garbine Muguruza Blanco (Spain) beat 27-Yulia Putintseva (Kazakhstan) 7-5 6-2 
Jelena Ostapenko (Latvia) beat Lesia Tsurenko (Ukraine) 6-1 6-4 

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