Friday, September 4, 2020

Serena advances to last 32, Murray crashes out of US Open


                    Andy Murray

Serena Williams continued her hunt for a record seventh US Open title with a straight-sets win on Thursday as Andy Murray crashed out in the second round at Flushing Meadows .

Williams, the tournament’ s third seed , dispatched unseeded Russian Margarita Gasparyan 6- 2, 6- 4 under the roof of a near- empty Arthur Ashe Stadium on a wet New York evening .

The 38-year - old closed out the first set with ease before a slight wobble in the second when she was broken twice by Gasparyan, before progressing into the third round .

“ I ’ m just happy to get through it and try to focus on the next round , ” said Williams, who will take on 2017 champion Sloane Stephens in the last 32.

Williams is seeking a record-equalling 24th singles Grand Slam title at a subdued, spectator -free Billie Jean King US National Tennis Center in New York .

A tournament victory next week would also see her break away from Chris Evert , on six titles , as the most decorated US Open champion of the women’ s game in the modern era .

Williams’ chances have been improved by the absence of several top players , included top-ranked Ashleigh Barty and Simona Halep , over coronavirus fears or injury .

She was handed a further boost on Wednesday when top seed Karolina Pliskova tumbled out of the tournament.

The Czech was stunned in straight sets by France ’ s world number 50 Caroline Garcia.

Williams’ American compatriot Sofia Kenin, the number two seed , continued her impressive form this year with a straightforward 6- 4, 6-3 victory over Canadian Leylah Fernandez to progress into the third round .

The reigning Australian Open champion Kenin is yet to drop a set at Flushing Meadows as she bids for her second Grand Slam title of the year , and of her career.

“ I feel like I found a groove. I ’ m really focused on every shot , ” said the Moscow - born player who will take on 27th seed Ons Jabeur of Tunisia in the next round .

In the men’ s draw Andy Murray , slumped to a 6- 2, 6-3, 6- 4, defeat against a dominant Felix Auger -Aliassime .

The 15th seed Canadian smashed 24 aces and 52 winners in a one - sided affair that saw Murray muster just two and nine respectively .

“ I just felt like everything was coming in, my toss , my rhythm . Everything was going well through the whole match , ” said Felix Auger- Aliassime .

– Pironkova return -In early men’ s matches, second seed Dominic Thiem celebrated his 27th birthday with an easy straight- sets win against India’ s Sumit Nagal .

The Austrian triumphed 6-3, 6-3, 6- 2 against Nagal , who became the first Indian man since 2013 to reach the second round of a Grand Slam .

Thiem will play 2014 US Open champion Marin Cilic for a place in the fourth round after the Croatian advanced in four sets against Slovakia’ s Norbert Gombos.

“ He ’ s one of the big champions of the last decade, Thiem said of Cilic .

“ It ’ s not a guy I want to face in the third round . ”

Third seed and beaten finalist last year Daniil Medvedev made light work of Australia’ s 116th -ranked Christoper O ’ Connell, easing into round three 6- 3, 6-2, 6- 4.

Elsewhere, sixth seed Italian Matteo Berrettini brushed aside France ’ s Ugo Humbert 6- 4, 6- 4, 7- 6 ( 8- 6) while Spaniard Roberto Bautista Agut progressed against Serbian Miomir Kecmanovic.

In the women’ s competition Thursday, Tsvetana Pironkova, returning after a lengthy time away from the game following the birth of her son , advanced at the expense of Garbine Muguruza .

The unseeded Bulgarian knocked out the 10th Spaniard 7- 5, 6-3 in 1hr 21 min .

“ Coming from three year of absence on the tour , you always have your doubts . Right now my results actually make me really happy because it shows that I did the right things preparing for this comeback, ” said Pironkova .

Seventh seed Madison Keys of the USA also progressed, making light work of Spain’ s Aliona Bolsova 6- 2, 6- 1, while Stephens easily overcame Belarusian Olga Govortsova 6- 2, 6-2.

British ninth seed Jo Konta became another high - ranking woman to be sent packing, losing in three sets to Romania ’ s Sorana Cirstea after going a set ahead .


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