— With AAP.
On Saturday, World No. 1 Ashleigh Barty, 23, casually cruised through to the fourth round of Wimbledon after a 6-1 6-1 rout against unseeded British wildcard Harriet Dart.
Serena Williams also made it through to the last 16, ensuring the two grand-slam champions are on track to meet in the Wimbledon quarter-final.
The likely last-eight showdown against Williams is tipped to be Barty’s sternest test yet in her Wimbledon campaign.
Bidding for a record-equalling 24th major, and eighth Wimbledon crown, Williams has admitted she’s been keeping a close eye on the top seed’s progress.
Williams and Barty first met when the Australian was a teenager at her home slam in 2014.
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“I’ve always from the day I played her in Australia had a tremendous amount of respect for her game,” Williams said.
“I just thought she’s just a beautiful player. She has great technique. I love that.
“I’m really a technical player. I like when people have a beautiful game and they do the right techniques. It’s so right up my alley.
“I’ve seen her play a lot recently, too. Like I always say, she’s just someone in the locker room that you just always root for.
“But in general I have been watching her game because I know that she’s a force to be reckoned with. So I’ve been watching a lot.”
With Barty having not dropped a set in her past 10 matches, a duel with Williams appears inevitable.