French Open 2017: Venus Williams continues outstanding play to defeat Elise Mertens

Venus Williams continued her torrid start to the French Open, needing just 62 minutes to dispatch of Elise Mertens 6-3, 6-1. The 36-year-old enters the second week of Roland Garros having not dropped a set.

Williams takes the first set

It was a nervy start for the Belgian and after saving two break points, Mertens cracked, missing a forehand to give Williams the break. The seven-time major champion gave the break back on a double fault.

A break to love followed when Williams ripped a backhand for a winner to take a 3-1 lead. The power of the 2002 Roland Garros finalist was taking its toll and a forehand down the line gave her another break and a 5-1 lead.

Mertens set up break point with a strong forehand of her own and at 15-40, broke when the American sent a backhand long. After the 21-year old held, Williams was presented with a second chance toserve out the set and this time she had no issues, holding to love to grab a one set lead.

Williams in full flight to reach last 16

After each player held to open the second set, it was Williams who capitalized on her first chance to break, a swinging volley a sign of her continued aggressiveness, taking a 2-1 lead. The American was on fire, defending well and her offensive ground game still in top gear, it was only a matter of time before the lead was extended and she held 0-40 on Mertens' serve.

After saving the first two break points, the Belgian flew a forehand long and Williams was a double break ahead. After a hold left her one game from the win, a backhand winner set up two match points and after Mertens saved the first, another brilliant backhand winner sealed the victory in just 62 minutes, the 36-year old looking like a serious contender for her first French Open title. 

Williams will face 30th seed Timea Bacsinszky in the fourth round. The Swiss, a semifinalist in 2015, stopped the American in this round last year.