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Rediff.com  » Sports » Fiery Serena, stoic Murray advance at US Open

Fiery Serena, stoic Murray advance at US Open

September 05, 2009 12:52 IST

Serena Williams and Andy Murray had brief hiccups on the way to convincing victories at the US Open, each choosing different tactics to remain on track for a long ride into the year's final Grand Slam.

Williams screamed, pumped her first, and jumped up and down in a victory over Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez, while Murray was stoic after a swift, one-set wobble against Paul Capdeville.

"I got nasty today, but to myself," Williams said after her 6-3, 7-5 victory Friday over the Spaniard. "I was just screaming to myself because I wasn't very happy with my performance."

Andy MurrayMurray, hoping to be the first Briton to win the US championship since 1936, calmly reversed the momentum after losing the second set to his Chilean opponent.

"I played three very good sets and one poor one. But you're allowed to play a bad set sometimes," the second-seeded Scotsman said after his 6-2, 3-6, 6-0, 6-2 second-round victory.

"I came back well from it. I just felt a little bit lethargic, a little bit low on energy. I don't know why, but managed to pick it up at the end when I needed to."

There were no major upsets under sunny skies at the Open, with Belgian Kim Clijsters advancing on the women's side, and Argentine Juan Martin Del Potro among the men.

Venus Williams found her range to beat plucky Slovakian Magdalena Rybarikova 6-2, 7-5 and set up a hotly anticipated fourth-round showdown at the US Open with comeback mum Kim Clijsters.

The American, third seed once again, stepped on to a floodlit Arthur Ashe Stadium with heavy strapping above and below her left knee but she had little trouble overpowering her 46th-ranked opponent in the opening set with her brutal groundstrokes.

Rybarikova, who had taken a pain-killing injection before the match for a left-toe injury, landed on her feet in the second set as she steamed ahead 3-1 but Venus soon cut her back to size with a series of spectacular volley winners.

A forehand error ended Rybarikova's night under the spotlight, leaving a beaming Williams to look forward to her clash with Clijsters, a match between two former U.S. Open champions.

"I'm so excited. She's been playing so great. She was a great champion and she's still great," said Williams.

"It's great to have her back. It's a boost for tennis and it will be a great match."

Serena's match against Martinez Sanchez produced none of the drama some were expecting after their tiff on the clay courts at the French Open in May.

When Williams beat Martinez Sanchez at Roland Garros, she branded her a "cheat" after the Spaniard claimed she had hit a winner only to have replays show the ball had glanced off her arm.

There was no sign of any continuing grudge between them in the match played in front of nearly 23,000 people at Arthur Ashe Stadium.

"I just was trying to go out there and do my best," said Serena, who will play 22nd seed Daniela Hantuchova of Slovakia in the fourth round.

"We are players, and we see each other every week and we have to have a good relationship," offered Martinez Sanchez.

Murray became the first man among the top 10 seeds to lose a set at Flushing Meadows yet felt good about his campaign to surpass last year's results when he lost in the finals to Roger Federer.

"It's sort of a good three, four months before the next grand slam comes around," Murray said. "So make sure you give it your best."

Clijsters continued her impressive comeback by beating compatriot Kirsten Flipkens 6-0, 6-2 to reach the fourth round, while Del Potro bounced Austrian Juergen Melzer 7-6, 6-3, 6-3 in his second-round match.

In a mild upset, eighth-seeded Victoria Azarenka of Belarus lost to Italy's Francesca Schiavone, the 26th seed, 4-6, 6-2, 6-2 in a third-round match.

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