An off day for world No. 1 Serena Williams on Thursday still resulted in a win as the American moved into the third round after a 6-3, 6-3 win over fellow American and No. 87-ranked Vania King.
“Hopefully I’ll be able to play better as the tournament goes on,” said Serena, whose serve was one of the few things firing, landing 13 aces. “So far, so good,” she said regarding the shoulder injury that had her exit early from the Rio Olympics.
Also into the third round of the Top 10 seeds in action were No. 4 Agnieszka Radwanska coming back to top Brit Naomi Broady 7-6(9), 6-3; No. 5 Simona Halep defeating Czech vet Lucie Safarova 6-3, 6-4; No. 6 Venus Williams powering past German Julia Goerges under the closed Arthur Ashe Stadium roof due to rain 6-2, 6-3; and No. 10 Karolina Pliskova handling Paraguay’s Montserrat Gonzalez 6-1, 7-5.
The Brit Broady crushed serves and rushed the net to establish a 4-1 lead against Radwanska before the experienced Pole began picking her lanky opponent’s game apart.
“She was serving unbelievable,” Radwanska said. “120 mph serves are not easy to break, and I also had to focus on my own serves, so it was tough. I was happy to get just a couple extra points today to win.”
Venus will next meet No. 26 seed Laura Siegemund who beat American Nicole Gibbs 6-3, 7-5.
“I just want to keep playing aggressive, making less errors,” the 36-year-old Venus said. “As long as I’m walking to the net and shaking hands after a win, I’m okay.”
Other seeded winners were No. 11 Carla Suarez Navarro straight-setting former No. 1 Jelena Jankovic, No. 17 Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, No. 19 Elena Vesnina, No. 25 Caroline Garcia from a set down beating Czech Katerina Siniakova, and No. 31 Timea Babos.
Only two lower-seeded upsets occurred on the day as American Varvara Lepchenko outlasted No. 15 Timea Bacsinszky 6-4, 4-6, 6-4, and China’s Zhang Shuai ousted No. 16 Samantha Stosur 6-3, 6-3.
Bacsinszky twice led by a break in the third set but could not close the door.
“It’s a miracle,” the 30-year-old Lepchenko said on-court after the more than 2-1/2 hour match. “At my age to be in the third round, I really value it.”
Lepchenko will next face the unseeded Ana Konjuh of Croatia.
Zhang says her victim Stosur is her best friend, and the two are playing doubles together.
“She helped me a lot, I’m feeling so sorry about her,” Zhang said. “I still can’t believe I beat Sam…I didn’t think I can beat her because she was champion at the US Open because she has very good spin, very good serve.”
Friday’s highlights in Flushing Meadows include (8) Madison Keys vs. Japan powerhouse Naomi Osaka, (2) Angie Kerber vs. American teen wildcard CiCi Bellis, and (13) Johanna Konta, who almost passed out due to heat exhaustion in her previous match, vs. (24) Belinda Bencic.
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