Was this maybe a little too early for the youngster to be playing in the 'major league'? That view may have been on some people's minds in Miami yesterday, as they witnessed a thrashing by a much more experienced player over a 15-year-old girl in the third round. Serena Williams was the 33-year-old 'master' and Catherine (CiCi) Bellis was her teenage apprentice in waiting, as the 34-time Grand Slam winner (singles and doubles included) showed little mercy in recording a resounding 6-1 6-1 success. At least the young woman was spared a double 'bagel' as was a distinct possibility before the match began, but the match amounted to little more than a decent training day for Ms Williams, as she took just 41 minutes to advance into round four.

Perhaps the references made to CiCi as 'underage' were a little unfair, as she is indeed a precocious American talent (winning a round at the US Open last year) and assuming 'burn out' does not become a factor should enjoy a successful Tennis career in due course, given good advice and coaching. She had already come through two rounds in Miami just to face Serena, winning in straight sets against both Indy de Vroome and then the 29th seed Zarina Diyas, so on that basis deserved her chance against the indomitable Williams.

Ms Bellis was never able to gain a foothold against Serena though, hardly denting the Williams' serve (just two points all match) and only managing 14 of the 65 points on offer in the 'contest' all together.

Besides Serena's clear advantage due to her power, there may have been a certain element of being star struck for the young player, as she was clearly a bit nervous in facing the number one seed and confirmed in the post-match interviews that "she's my idol."

Serena, this year's Australian Open champion, admitted afterwards that there were moments during the match, when she felt like (almost) joining in with the applause from the partisan crowd, as they urged the underdog on to better things.

One such moment was when the youngster had the temerity (and ability) to fire an ace past her seasoned opponent as the match neared its somewhat inevitable conclusion. She said that due to her age and being American-born "you want to see people like her do well."

One wonders how CiCi's future tennis aspirations will map out.

Tennis of course is littered with examples of young women who have joined the senior ranks at a tender age and had some success, although many then seem to fall by the wayside and not fulfil their early potential, often due to prolonged injuries due to too much expectation and wear and tear, at a developing age. For many, they defer the jump into the seniors, until they have exhausted the potential for development in the junior ranks, for that very reason.

As for Serena's next opponent, that will be Svetlana Kuznetsova after the 24th seed ground out a tough win over Heather Watson's conqueror in Miami, Angelique Kerber in three sets. Serena will be a heavy favourite for that match, but the Russian was the champion in Miami in 2006 so knows her way around the courts.