4 September 2016
World number one Serena Williams powered to a record 307th Grand Slam match win with a 6-2 6-1 victory over Sweden’s Johanna Larsson to reach the U.S. Open’s fourth round on Saturday.
The American moved ahead of Martina Navratilova for most match wins in a major by a woman, and tied Roger Federer’s mark for men.
“That’s pretty awesome and what a place to do it, where everything first started,” said the 34-year-old.
Serena won her first Grand Slam title at Flushing Meadows in 1999.
“To be up there with both men and women is something that’s super rare, and it actually feels really good,” she said.
The American is bidding to claim a 23rd Grand Slam singles title, which would see her surpass Steffi Graf as the most successful woman in the Open Era.
The six-time U.S. Open champion, whose number one ranking is under threat, next faces Kazakhstan’s Yaroslava Shvedova, a 6-2 7-5 winner over China’s Zhang Shuai.
Sister Venus Williams, the sixth seed and oldest woman in the tournament at 36, also went through with a 6-1 6-2 win over 26th seed Laura Siegemund of Germany.
Venus, who won back-to-back U.S. Open titles in 2000 and 2001, will compete for a quarter-final berth against Czech 10th seed Karolina Pliskova.
She will meet her sister Serena in the semi-finals if both continue their winning form.
The sixth-seeded Williams came up big on the critical points to make quick work of Siegemund in a 6-1 6-2 victory in Arthur Ashe Stadium to reach the fourth round.
The 36-year-old Williams repelled seven of nine break points held by the German, and capitalised on six of 10 of her own break opportunities.
“Just doing what I have to do; being able to dominate when I need to,” Williams told reporters later.
“Being in control of the points, so even if I lose a point, I feel like, OK, I’m in a position to win the point. That’s where I want to be every single time.’’
Williams, a seven-time grand slam singles winner and twice U.S. Open champion, has enjoyed some recent successes, reaching the semi-finals at Wimbledon and the final at Stanford.
“Every match is a little different,” Venus said. “Today, my opponent tried to play aggressively, but I played that game just a little bit better than her.”
As for Pliskova, the elder Williams said: “we play kind of a similar game. So it’s about one of us playing that game better.”
Siegemund appeared poised to offer the American a good test, coming off a productive stretch in which she made the semi-finals in Bucharest and won in Bastad.
She also reached the quarter-finals at the Rio Olympics.
But she wilted under the raw power of Williams, who forced her into 32 errors and was gifted with 26 unforced miscues in the 78-minute match.
That moved Williams into a round of 16 clash against big-serving, 10th-seeded Czech Karolina Pliskova, a 6-2 6-4 winner against Russian 17th seed Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova.
Fifth seed Simona Halep of Romania smashed her racquet in frustration before avoiding an upset by defeating Hungary’s Timea Babos 6-1 2-6 6-4.
Halep trailed 3-1 in the deciding set but fought back to reach the last 16.
“I don’t know how I came back. I felt like I didn’t play my best but I was fighting to the end for every ball,” she said.
Halep will play Spain’s 11th seed Carla Suarez Navarro for a place in the quarter-finals.
Suarez celebrated her 28th birthday with a 6-4 6-3 victory over Russian Elena Vesnina.
Fourth seed Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland overcame France’s Caroline Garcia 6-2 6-3 and will face Ana Konjuh of Croatia next.
Venus Williams moved within two wins of a possible sisterly showdown with Serena in the semi-finals of the U.S. Open by beating German 26th seed Laura Siegemund.
Second seed Andy Murray had to change tactics after two sets before he could beat 34-year-old Italian veteran Paolo Lorenzi to advance to the U.S. Open fourth round.
Murray was moping and muttering to himself as he pressed for winners against the steady Italian and piled up unforced errors before deciding to patiently play long rallies.
This then enabled him secure a 7-6(4) 5-7 6-2 6-3 win.
World number two Murray committed 47 errors in the first two sets, including 31 off his forehand, and converted only 4-of-12 break points before finding his form in the third set.
The 40th-ranked Lorenzi put up a gritty fight in spite of coming off a gruelling five-set, five-hour win over French 30th seed Gilles Simon in his second-round tilt.
The Scotsman’s harder-than-expected three-hour 17-minute victory kept his golden summer moving forward after triumphs at Wimbledon and at the Rio Olympics.
Lorenzi is also enjoying a stellar season, logging his first victory ever on the ATP Tour.
He became the oldest first-time champion by winning at Kitzbuehel, and adding two semi-finals and a quarter-final to his credit.
“I stopped rushing in the rallies,’’ 2012 U.S. Open winner Murray said in an on-court interview. “I was making quite a few unforced errors.
“He’s an extremely solid player and doesn’t give you many cheap points. I was trying to get cheap points, I was going for too much.
“When I slowed things down and waited for the right shot to go for, my unforced errors went down, the winners went up and the scoreboard started working in my favour as well.”
Murray advanced to a fourth-round clash with 22nd seed Grigor Dimitrov of Bulgaria, a 6-4 6-1 3-6 6-2 winner over Joao Sousa of Portugal.
The second seed said he did not overlook Lorenzi.
“He’s ranked 40 in the world. He’s pretty good. So I expected a tough match. I expected long rallies, I’m just disappointed with the amount of errors I made,” Murray said.
“That cost me in the first and second sets,’’ he added.
Murray was impressed with the fortitude of the Italian, who battled the Scot through a brilliant 42-stroke rally in the second set among many long exchanges.
“After the match he had a couple days ago, to come out and move like he did and work as hard as he did out there shows that’s a huge quality of his and it gets you a long way,” Murray said.