NEW YORK, (Reuters) – Venus Williams continued her U.S. Open campaign when the American beat Greek Maria Sakkari 6-3 6-4 yesterday to advance to the fourth round.
Roared on by the Arthur Ashe Stadium crowd, Williams, who won two titles at Flushing Meadows in 2000 and 2001, overcame serve problems to set up a meeting with gritty Spaniard Carla Suarez Navarro.
Suarez Navarro held her nerve against Russian Ekaterina Makarova to win their third-round clash 6-1 3-6 6-3.
Williams has now reached the last 16 in every grand slam this year, a feat she last achieved in 2010.
The 37-year-old managed the only break in the opening set to take control of the match.
After a couple of exchanges of breaks in the second, Williams stole her opponent’s serve again to close it out on the first match point when Sakkari’s forehand sailed long.
“I’m playing at home, I’ve got a lot to accomplish here, and I’m happy to get the win,” she said, before adding she was expecting a similar game style from Suarez Navarro as Sakkari.
“She’s feisty. I know I have to come out, play well, have you all (the crowd) behind me and get a win.”
The question on everyone lips, however, was whether her younger sister Serena, the 23-times grand slam champion, had given birth to her first child.
Venus refused to answer the question and a reporter was cut off by a moderator after she asked several questions related to the expected birth.
In other results, big-serving South African Kevin Anderson, the men’s 28th seed, beat unseeded Croatian Borna Coric 6-4 6-3 6-2.
Anderson, who dished out 12 aces and 32 winners without dropping his serve, faces Italy’s Paolo Lorenzi in the fourth round.
Frenchman Lucas Pouille, the men’s 16th seed, beat Kazakhstan’s Mikhail Kukushkin 2-6 6-3 6-4 6-4 to set up a fourth-round clash with Argentine Diego Schwartzman while German Julia Goerges, the women’s 30th seed, beat Serbia’s Aleksandra Krunic 6-3 6-3 in the third round.
Goerges struck six aces and 27 winners during the match, and will face unseeded American Sloane Stephens next.
Stephens beat Australia’s Ashleigh Barty 6-2 6-4 to reach the fourth round of a grand slam for the first time in two years.
Wimbledon champion Garbine Muguruza, the third seed, cruised into the fourth round with a dominant 6-1 6-1 victory over Slovakia’s Magdalena Rybarikova.
The Spaniard will take on two-times Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova next. Czech Kvitova, the 13th seed, beat France’s Caroline Garcia 6-0 6-4 earlier yesterday to book a spot in the U.S. Open fourth round for the third year in a row.
The 13th seed has progressed to the fourth round of a grand slam for the first time this year, following her return from a long-term injury layoff in May.
Canadian Denis Shapovalov beat Kyle Edmund 3-6 6-3 6-3 1-0 after the Briton retired just after the start of the fourth set with a neck injury.
Shapovalov will meet Spain’s Pablo Carreno Busta in the fourth round.
Argentina’s Diego Schwartzman defeated fifth-seeded Croatian Marin Cilic 4-6 7-5 7-5 6-4 to reach the fourth round of a grand slam for the first time.
Cilic becomes the 15th seeded men’s player to exit the competition.
12th-seeded Spaniard Pablo Carreno Busta hit 32 winners to beat Frenchman Nicholas Mahut 6-3 6-4 6-3 and seal a fourth- round spot.
The 26-year-old has progressed past the third round of the U.S. Open for the first time, as he targets a first grand slam title.