NEW YORK, (Reuters) – Roger Federer and Serena Williams both swept into the third round of the U.S. Open yesterday with the same sort of ruthless performances that have made them the king and queen of tennis.
The former world number ones showed no mercy against their opponents as they sent an ominous warning to their rivals about their grand intentions for the championship.
Federer, already a five-time champion at Flushing Meadows, demolished Israel’s Dudi Sela 6-3 6-2 6-2 in just 77 minutes on the Arthur Ashe Stadium. The Swiss master was untroubled by his rival and offered a blunt assessment of the contest.
“When it’s like that, obviously it’s tough for the opponent,” Federer said. “But I just think I was superior today.”
Williams, also playing on the center court, was just as ruthless. She thrashed Michaella Krajicek of the Netherlands 6-0 6-1 in less than an hour, racing around like the court like a teenager instead of a 29-year-old on the comeback trail.
“One way to get faster is you can pretend there’s a check for a million dollars there tax free, and just go run it down,” she explained.
Williams spent almost as long in her news conference talking about her sister Venus’s health problems than she did on court, but said she had not allowed herself to be distracted by it.
“It really wasn’t that difficult, to be honest. I mean, she wants me to do the best, she wouldn’t want me to suffer,” Serena said.
“If anything, it should motivate me more.”
Venus pulled out of the Open on Wednesday after revealing she was suffering from Sjogren’s Syndrome, an autoimmune disease that causes fatigue and joint pain.
She has ruled out any thoughts of retirement and vowed to continue playing and Serena said she had no doubts she would make it back.
“I know she’s a fighter and she’s really strong. She’s great. She’s really happy now that she knows what it is after all this time,” Serena said.