Serena breezes past wind and King
NEW YORK, August 29
World number one Serena Williams blew past Vania King 6-1 6-0 and into the third round of the US Open on a windswept day at Flushing Meadows on Thursday, then pulled a little double duty joining big sister Venus for a doubles win.
“I’m ready, fit and feeling good,” said Serena. “We really enjoy playing together, she added of the 7-6 (0) 6-7 (4) 6-1 win over Hungary’s Timea Babos and France’s Kristina Mladenovic.
“We really embrace being role models. We think it’s a great opportunity and we almost feel honored and pleasured to have that label.”
While the Williams sisters may enjoy being role models, Serena has been busy at the year’s final Grand Slam providing the next generation of American players with a tennis lesson.
Her bid for an 18th career Grand Slam title has so far come at the expense of her fellow Americans, dashing the hopes of 18-year-old compatriot Taylor Townsend in the opening round and King in the second.
Up next is yet another American Varvara Lepchenko, who advanced with a 6-4 6-0 win over Germany’s Mona Barthel.
“The fact is if I lose, it’s bigger news than if I win,” said Williams.
“That is a test to how much people believe in my game and my skill and how much they appreciate the sport and how good they think I am. I’ve had three tries to get to 18 and it hasn’t happened.”
“Hopefully I’ll get there one day. I’m kind of stuck right now at 17, which to be honest is not a bad number to be stuck at. It’s better than 16.” The first meeting between Williams and King will not go down as a memorable one, especially for the 81st-ranked King as Williams needed a mere 56 minutes to seal the victory on a sun-kissed Arthur Ashe Stadium court.
Williams had more trouble with the gusty conditions than with her opponent, committing three double faults in her opening service game. But she would eventually gain enough control of her serve and groundstrokes blasting 25 winners past an overwhelmed Vania King, who could manage just five.
“It’s so hard to play in the wind,” said the top-seed, a five time champion at Flushing Meadows.
“I’m very happy to get through a solid match with the conditions today. You have to be able to adjust.”
Djokovic breezes into round 3
NEW YORK, August 29
World number one Novak Djokovic breezed into the third round on a blustery day at the US Open on Thursday, defeating France’s Paul-Henri Mathieu 6-1, 6-3, 6-0.
Serbia’s Djokovic, the 2011 champion who has played in the last four finals at Flushing Meadows, will face Sam Querrey for a place in the round of 16.
Querrey, one of just three US men to make it into the second round, advanced with a 6-3, 6-4, 6-4 win over 28th-seeded Spaniard Guillermo Garcia-Lopez.
Djokovic, who captured his seventh Grand Slam title at Wimbledon in July, didn’t seem to notice the wind swirling inside Arthur Ashe Stadium, firing 13 aces and 33 total winners past Mathieu.
“It’s very windy, but I managed to adjust to the conditions that obviously are not easy for myself and my opponent,” Djokovic said.
“I managed to play better in the important moments, play solid, use my serve efficiently — with accuracy rather than speed.”
Djokovic looked more uncomfortable being asked post-match to demonstrate some dance steps for the crowd than he did facing anything that Mathieu threw at him.
He was looking forward to taking on home-grown favorite Querrey, perhaps in a marquee night match sure to stir up the New York crowd.
“Of course he’s one of the top Americans,” Djokovic said. “He has a big serve. On any surface if he serves well he’s dangerous to play against.”
Murray makes quick work of Bachinge
New York, August 29
Andy Murray cruised into the third round of the US Open with a 6-3 6-3 6-4 victory over German qualifier Matthias Bachinger.
The British No 1 suffered with a dramatic bout of cramp in his opening contest against Robin Haase but did not have to deal with any such problems this time as he wrapped up a routine win at Arthur Ashe Stadium.
Bachinger showed admirable aggression but did not have the quality to trouble Murray. Murray will now face former junior Wimbledon champion Andrey Kuznetsov.
The conditions were cool and windy, which did not make for high-quality tennis in the opening stages as neither player was able to mount a challenge on the opponent’s serve. But a couple of loose shots by Bachinger in the eighth game cost him, giving Murray a break and the chance to serve for the set, which he did with ease.
The Scot seemed to relax after winning the first set and began to show some brilliant touches, coming to the net on several occasions and pulling Bachinger around the court with a number of exquisite lobs. Murray extended his winning run of games to five with a break at the start of the second set and was on cruise control for the rest of it.
Murray did not face a break point all match until Bachinger suddenly went 0-40 up. However, Murray calmly saved all three break points before holding serve. Bachinger then saved six break points in the next game but Murray soon took his chance, converting his first match point in the 10th game of the set as Bachinger sent a backhand wide.