Serena wary of Stephens threat in third round

Serena wary of Stephens threat in third round”

Williams had a nightmare start in the opening set as she made an uncharacteristic 13 unforced errors as Stephens took the set 6-2. But other than that, it's just (a) minus, like: I'm not with her, I'm not around her. Just get a game. That was certainly a crucial factor in her 2-6, 6-2, 6-2 win against Sloane Stephens on Saturday that felt much more like a semifinal than a third-round match.

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

Serena, a six-time US Open champion, is chasing Margaret Court's record 24 grand slam record. She has had the chance in four Slam finals, including the previous two in NY.

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

"Sometimes it's harder than others. Every day having "Serena" on your back is a massive target for the tour, for press, for stress", she admitted.

She was supported by husband Alexis Ohanian and daughter Alexis Olympia Jr, as she faced off Saturday against Sloane Stephens at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing Meadows, New York. I just try to think about how fortunate I am to have been in this position.

In a year of unprecedented uncertainty and extensive restrictions surrounding the tournament, one of the biggest questions heading into the event was how Williams would respond to playing in front of empty seats. Many wondered if she had become accustomed to the energy of the adoring crowd and would struggle in its absence.

More news: Bopanna-Shapovalov enter second round of US Open

At this stage in her life, Williams is discovering the key to success lies in finding room to allow for the occasional botched letter.

Williams needed to improve quickly and she did, finding more first serves and hanging with Stephens from the back of the court.

Keys, the runner-up in 2017, said she didn't think her injury was serious.

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

Serena will next take on Maria Sakkari in the fourth round on Monday, September 7.

Sakkari beat Williams at the Western & Southern Open last week, the former world number one collapsing from the brink of victory, and she is pleased to have another shot at the 25-year-old so quickly. Although the previous victory helps the No. 15-seeded Sakkari's confidence heading into the match, she acknowledged just how tough it will be - even without a supportive crowd behind the superstar.

"Well, she's a great competitor". "You have to come up with some great tennis".

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