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US Open: Serena, Osaka advance, Murray crashes out

 

Serena Williams continued her hunt for a record seventh U.S. Open title with a straight-sets win Friday as Andy Murray crashed out in the second round at Flushing Meadows.
Williams, the tournament’s third seed, dispatched unseeded Russian Margarita Gasparyan 6-2, 6-4 under the roof of a near-empty Arthur Ashe Stadium on a wet New York evening.
The 38-year-old closed out the first set with ease before a slight wobble in the second when she was broken twice by Gasparyan, before progressing into the third round.
“I’m just happy to get through it and try to focus on the next round,” said Williams, who will take on 2017 champion Sloane Stephens in the last 32.
Williams is seeking a record-matching 24th Grand Slam singles title at a subdued, spectator-free Billie Jean King U.S. National Tennis Center.
A tournament victory next week would also see her break away from Chris Evert’s six titles as the most decorated U.S. Open champion of the women’s game in the modern era. Williams’ chances have been improved by the absence of several top players, included top-ranked Ash Barty and Simona Halep, over coronavirus fears or injuries.
She was handed a further boost on Wednesday when top seed Karolina Pliskova tumbled out of the tournament.
In the men’s draw, Andy Murray slumped to a 6-2, 6-3, 6-4 defeat against a dominant Felix Auger-Aliassime.
The 15th-seeded Auger-Aliassime dominated throughout, compiling a 52-9 edge in total winners, including 24 aces, and taking 41 of the 46 points when he put his first serve in play.
“I just felt like everything was coming in, my toss, my rhythm. Everything was going well through the whole match,” said Felix Auger-Aliassime.
Perhaps even more notably, AugerAliassime never faced so much as a single break point against Murray, one of the game’s great returners. This was just too much to ask of Murray, a 33-year-old with a metal hip who two days earlier toiled for four hours.
And two-time Grand Slam winner Naomi Osaka battled into the last 16 of the US Open on Friday, requiring three sets to defeat 18-year-old Ukrainian Marta Kostyuk.
Osaka, the 2018 US Open champion, needed 2hr 33min to beat the unseeded world number 137 6-3, 6-7 (4/7), 6-2 inside an empty Arthur Ashe Stadium.

 

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