Serena Williams continued her hunt for a record seventh US Open title with a straight-sets win yesterday 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 in New York.
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.
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 SimonaHalep, over coronavirus fears or injury.
She was handed a further boost 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.
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.
In early matches, second seed Dominic Thiem celebrated his 27th birthday with an easy straight-sets win against India’s SumitNagal.
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.*AFP