World No. 1 Serena Williams needs to outlast world No. 2 Angie Kerber to keep her top ranking during this fortnight at the US Open. On Saturday she did so in dominant and further record-setting fashion, thumping unseeded Swede Johanna Larsson 6-2, 6-1 to move into the round of 16 and record an Open Era record 307th win at a grand slam tournament.
Win No. 307 tied her with Roger Federer as the most slam wins by a man or woman.
“To be up there with both men and women is something that’s super rare, and it actually feels good,” Serena said. “Something I didn’t even know about until Wimbledon. I was like, ‘Oh, I have a new goal.’ That was pretty cool for me. Obviously I want to keep that number going higher and see what can happen.”
She will next try and keep it going against Kazakhstan’s Yaroslava Shvedova, who Saturday was a 6-2, 7-5 winner over China’s Zhang Shuai. Williams is 4-0 career against Shvedova.
Simona Halep and Carla Suarez Navarro set up a fourth-round meeting when a shaky Halep struggled past Hungary’s Timea Babos 6-1, 2-6, 6-4, and Suarez Navarro beat Russian Elena Vesnina 6-4, 6-3.
“I don’t know how I came back,” said Halep, who lost only a game in the first set before the wheels came off and Babos eventually double-faulted on match point to hand over an ugly victory. “I felt like I didn’t play my best but I was fighting to the end for every ball. I did everything I could today and I’m really happy I could finish the match in my way.”
No. 4 seed Aggie Radwanska cruised on Saturday, setting up a meeting with Croat riser Ana Konjuh, who outlasted American Varvara Lepchenko 6-3, 3-6, 6-2. Radwanska beat France’s Caroline Garcia, an opponent she has had frequent difficulty with, 6-2, 6-3.
“That means everything,” Radwanska said of a chance to advance to the round of 16 in Flushing Meadows for the first time in her career. “I hope I can play even better than today in the next round and reach my first quarterfinal here.”
Radwanska came into the US Open fresh off the New Haven title the previous week, but looked none worse for the wear.
“I think I was playing good tennis from the beginning,” she said. “I was very solid from my serves and able to return her huge serves.
Radwanska beat Konjuh 9-7 in the third in their lone career meeting this year at Wimbledon.
In the final night match Venus Williams joined her sister in the fourth round when the No. 6 seed overpowered No. 26 Laura Siegemund 6-1, 6-2.
“I think what I liked most here was that feeling of the crowd at the end,” said Venus on court afterward, to the roar of the partisan fans.
She will next face No. 10 seed Karolina Pliskova, who countered, then one-upped the power of No. 17 Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 6-2, 6-4.
“Finally I made it [to the fourth round of a Grand Slam],” Pliskova said, trying her hand at speaking in the third person. “I was waiting a long time for this girl to get to the fourth round. Hopefully I can keep it going.”
Pliskova is now on an eight-match winning streak after raising the Cincinnati title entering Flushing Meadows, beating No. 3-ranked Garbine Muguruza and the No. 2 Kerber.
Sunday highlights in Flushing Meadows will be (8) Madison Keys vs. former No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki in a first-time meeting, and (2) Angie Kerber vs. Petra Kvitova.
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