PARIS Evergreen Venus Williams stayed in contention for a shot at a maiden French Open crown, continuing to roll back the years with a 6-3 6-1 third-round demolition of Elise Mertens on Friday.
American Williams, seeded 10th and competing in her 20th French Open, powered 22 winners and converted six of 13 break points as she picked apart the 60th-ranked Belgian in just over an hour.
Momentum appears to be building for Williams as she attempts to win a title she came closest to lifting in 2002, when she was beaten in the final by her younger sister Serena.
Williams, a seven-times grand slam singles champion who turns 37 this month, will play Switzerland's Timea Bacsinszky for a place in the quarter-finals.
(Reporting by John Stonestreet, editing by Ed Osmond)