Serena Williams made a journalist apologise after she wasn't impressed with the phrase of questioning put to her after her second round victory at the Australian Open yesterday.

Williams kept her chase for an Open-era record 23rd major title on track with a 6-3, 6-4 second round win over Lucie Safarova.

Williams, who crashed out of the ASB Classic second round after producing 88 unforced errors, still wasn't at her best against Safarova but she wasn't happy with the performance labelled as ''scrappy'' in the post-match press conference.

Journalist: Looked a little bit of a scrappy performance. A few more unforced errors, a few double-faults.

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Serena: I think that's a very negative thing to say. Are you serious?

Journalist: Just my observation.

Serena: Well, you should have been out there. That wasn't very kind. You should apologise. Do you want to apologise?

Journalist: I do. I'm sorry.

Williams will be hoping her next opponent fellow American Nicole Gibbs will cave in as quickly in the third round.

SERENA MODE

Williams admitted she had her hands full against Safarova but the six-time Australian Open champion had an ace up her sleeve - she's Serena.

"I knew that I wanted to just be Serena," Williams.

"That's what I'm good at doing, is being Serena. That's what I wanted to do."

Pressed on what 'being Serena' means to her, the 22-time grand slam winner elaborated.

"To me, it's being a champion, but not only by the way I play, but the things I do off the court as well," she said.

"I know that being Serena on the court is in a way being calm, which is in my name, but always having that fire as well.

"I think, most of all, being confident. I should be confident because there's no other Serena. I mean, I'm Serena. Maybe there is another one, but she's not in tennis.

"So I think sometimes I forget. I try to be so humble that I forget I have accomplished so much. I really wanted today to just have confidence when I was out there."

Safarova, who was beaten by Williams in the final of the 2015 French Open, played at a high level but Williams was able to maintain that level on a more consistent basis, blasting 15 aces and 35 winners in an enthralling contest.

Williams will play Gibbs next having had to overcome two high-quality opponents in Safarova and Belinda Bencic in the first two rounds.

"Honestly, it's not ideal," Williams said."But at the end of the day, when I play players like Bencic and Safarova, they force me to play better. It forces my game from the very first day to be at a high level. So I think it's actually good.

"I needed something to start really fast. I'm not going to complain about it."

- With AAP