TENNIS

The Myanmar Times - - Sport -

SERENA Williams sped past another mile­stone this week­end en route to the US Open fourth round as men’s con­tenders Andy Mur­ray and Stan Wawrinka clawed their way into the last 16.

World num­ber one Williams dom­i­nated Swe­den’s Jo­hanna Lars­son 6-2, 6-1 to sur­pass Martina Navratilova for most Grand Slam wins by a woman with 307.

Not only has she sur­passed Navratilova, she matched Roger Fed­erer’s mark for men.

“To be up there with both men and women is some­thing that’s su­per-rare, and it ac­tu­ally feels good,” said Williams, who said she was “re­ally ex­cited” to reach 307.

“Ob­vi­ously I want to keep that num­ber go­ing higher,” added Williams, who will get her chance when she takes on Kaza­khstan’s Yaroslava Shve­dova for a quar­ter-fi­nal berth.

In the one hour it took to sub­due Lars­son, Williams again ap­peared un­trou­bled by the shoul­der in­jury that has slowed her since her Wim­ble­don tri­umph.

“It def­i­nitely feels solid,” she said. “I’m do­ing a lot of work on it so I can keep it in this po­si­tion.”

While Williams en­coun­tered lit­tle resistance, it was another story for the top men’s seeds in ac­tion.

Wawrinka, a two-time Grand Slam win­ner and twice a semi-fi­nal­ist in New York, had the clos­est call, sav­ing a match point in a 4-6, 6-3, 6-7 (6/8), 7-6 (10/8), 6-2 vic­tory over Bri­tain’s Dan Evans.

The 31-year-old third seed saved the match point at 5/6 in the fourth set tiebreaker, break­ing the will of his 64thranked op­po­nent.

“It’s al­ways good to win by sav­ing match point. It’s al­ways some­thing spe­cial, that’s for sure,” said Wawrinka, who had his left an­kle taped af­ter twist­ing it dur­ing the match. “It was a tough bat­tle and I’m happy to get through.”

Many of Mur­ray’s trou­bles against Paolo Lorenzi were of his own mak­ing as he al­lowed the en­er­getic Ital­ian jour­ney­man to make him look or­di­nary through two sets be­fore pulling him­self to­gether to win 7-6 (7/4), 5-7, 6-2, 6-3.

“I had to stop rush­ing,” said Mur­ray, who ar­rived at the year’s fi­nal Grand Slam off vic­to­ries at Wim­ble­don and the Rio Olympics and may have ex­pected less from Lorenzi, the 34-year-old who only won a first ATP ti­tle in July.

“I was mak­ing a lot of un­forced er­rors and [Lorenzi] is very solid, and doesn’t give you cheap points,” Mur­ray said. “I was look­ing for those cheap points too of­ten.”

Mur­ray takes on Bul­gar­ian Grigor Dim­itrov, a 6-4, 6-1, 3-6, 6-2 win­ner over Por­tu­gal’s Joao Sousa, for a quar­ter­fi­nal berth.

Wawrinka next faces 63rd-ranked Ukrainian Illya Marchenko, who ad­vanced when a hurt­ing Nick Kyr­gios, hob­bled by a painful right hip, re­tired while trail­ing 4-6, 6-4, 6-1.

Kyr­gios, the 14th seed from Aus­tralia sol­diered on af­ter re­ceiv­ing treat­ment at the end of the sec­ond set be­fore opt­ing out at the end of the third.

Sixth-seeded Kei Nishikori of Ja­pan, two years re­moved from his run to the fi­nal, ral­lied for a 4-6, 6-1, 6-2, 6-2 win over France’s Nicolas Mahut.

Nishikori, who has dropped a set in each of his matches so far, will take on Ivo Karlovic for a quar­ter-fi­nal berth af­ter the tow­er­ing Croa­t­ian de­feated 19-year-old Amer­i­can Jared Don­ald­son 6-4, 7-6 (7/3), 6-3.

Juan Martin del Potro, whose ca­reer was nearly de­railed by in­juries af­ter his 2009 US Open tri­umph, fired 37 win­ners in a 7-6 (7/3), 6-2, 6-3 vic­tory over Span­ish 11th seed David Fer­rer.

He next faces eighth-seeded Aus­trian Do­minic Thiem, who cel­e­brated his 23rd birth­day with a 1-6, 6-4, 6-4, 7-5 vic­tory over Pablo Car­reno Busta of Spain.

Women’s fourth seed Ag­nieszka Rad­wan­ska ad­vanced with ease, dis­patch­ing France’s Caro­line Gar­cia 6-2, 6-3 to set up a meet­ing with Croa­t­ian Ana Kon­juh, a 6-3, 3-6, 6-2 win­ner over Amer­i­can Var­vara Lepchenko.

Hun­gar­ian Timea Ba­bos put a scare into Ro­ma­nian fifth seed Si­mona Halep, surg­ing back in the sec­ond set and tak­ing a 3-1 lead in the third be­fore fall­ing 6-1, 2-6, 6-4.

Halep, who fell in the semi-fi­nals to even­tual cham­pion Flavia Pen­netta last year, will play Spain’s Carla Suarez Navarro for place in the quar­ter-fi­nals.

Suarez, also cel­e­brat­ing a birth­day on Septem­ber 3 as she turned 28, de­feated Rus­sian Elena Ves­nina 6-4, 6-3.

Sixth seed Venus Williams, whose seven Grand Slam ti­tles in­clude US Open crowns in 2000 and 2001, coasted into the round of 16 with a straight­for­ward 6-1, 6-2 win over Ger­man Laura Siege­mund, set­ting up a tough meet­ing with 10th-seeded Karolina Pliskova.

The hard-hit­ting Czech, who shocked An­gelique Ker­ber in the fi­nal of the US Open tuenup in Cincin­nati, de­feated Anas­ta­sia Pav­lyuchenkova 6-2, 6-4. –

Photo: AFP

Serena Williams blasts a re­turn at Swe­den’s Jo­hanna Lars­son dur­ing their match on Septem­ber 3.

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