Serena, Azarenka advance at US Open

Serena, Azarenka advance at US Open
Serena Williams and Victoria Azarenka
New York, Sep 4 (Agencies) | Publish Date: 9/4/2020 10:09:18 AM IST

Serena Williams moved into the third round of the US Open and a meeting with fellow American Sloane Stephens as she took a step closer to the magic 24.

The 38-year-old American came through against Russian world No 117 Margarita Gasparyan 6-2, 6-4 on Arthur Ashe.

Williams requires one more Grand Slam to equal Margaret Court’s singles record, but has been stuck on 23 titles since winning the 2017 Australian Open.

But with the field decimated by withdrawals coupled with the shock defeat suffered by top seed Karolina Pliskova on Wednesday, Williams has an increasingly clear run to a seventh Flushing Meadows crown.

Williams will meet fellow American and former champion Sloane Stephens, who beat Olga Govortsova 6-2, 6-2, in round three.

“I’m just happy to get through and try to focus on the next round,” said Williams.

“Sloane is such a good player, she plays so smooth. She looks like she is not taking a lot of energy and then suddenly bam! Five winners.”

Meanwhile, unseeded Victoria Azarenka put fellow Belarusian Aryna Sabalenka firmly in her place with an emphatic 6-1, 6-3 victory.

The 31-year-old former world No 1 has twice reached the final at Flushing Meadows and signalled that she will take some stopping this year in her contest with the fifth seed.

Azarenka whipped through the first set in less than half an hour as her Fed Cup team mate Sabalenka sprayed 17 unforced errors on the Louis Armstrong Stadium court.

Sabalenka offered more resistance in the second stanza but twice Australian Open champion Azarenka was unrelenting as she set up a third-round date with Sachia Vickery or Iga Swiatek.

Auger-Aliassime knocks out Murray

Canadian Felix Auger-Aliassime proved too strong for former champion Andy Murray, cutting short the Briton’s Grand Slam comeback at the U.S. Open with a breezy 6-2, 6-3, 6-4 victory in the second round.

Auger-Aliassime, seeded 15th, has had problems with his serve and unforced errors in the past but it was almost a near-perfect outing in his debut appearance on the centre court, which had its roof closed due to rain.

He did not face a single breakpoint on his serve.

Murray had rallied from two sets down to beat Yoshihito Nishioka in four hours and 39 minutes in his opening round but did not have the strength or stamina to script another comeback and suffered four breaks of serve in the match.

In the next round, Auger-Aliassime will meet either Frenchman Corentin Moutet or Briton Daniel Evans, who was serving to stay in the third set at 6-4 3-6 5-6 when rain stopped play on the outer courts.


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