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Top players dominate at U.S. Open

Serena Williams, Roger Federer, Caroline Wozniacki, Mardy Fish and Novak Djokovic cruise into the next round.

September 01, 2011|By Diane Pucin
  • Serena Williams returns a shot during her second-round victory over Michaella Krajicek at the U.S. Open on Thursday.
Serena Williams returns a shot during her second-round victory over Michaella… (Chris Trotman / Getty Images )

Reporting from New York — The best players dominated at the U.S. Open on Thursday.

Serena Williams, seeded 28th, needed only 49 minutes to beat qualifier Michaella Krajicek, 6-0, 6-1. Third-seeded Roger Federer was on and off Arthur Ashe Stadium in 1 hour 17 minutes with a 6-3, 6-2, 6-2 win over Dudi Sela. Eighth-seeded Mardy Fish positively dawdled, taking 1:53 to knock out Tunisian qualifier Malek Jaziri, 6-2, 6-2, 6-4. Top-seeded Caroline Wozniacki cruised past Arantxa Rus, 6-2, 6-0, in 63 minutes.

And then, into the third set Novak Djokovic was trying to pitch a shutout. The only time someone had won, 6-0, 6-0, 6-0, at the U.S. Open was in 1987, Ivan Lendl over Barry Moir.

Djokovic, seeded No. 1 and ranked No. 1 in the world, ended up beating Carlos Berlocq of Argentina, 6-0, 6-0, 6-2, in 90 minutes. Djokovic was leading, 6-0, 6-0, 2-0, before Berlocq finally won a game with a massive backhand winner that earned him a standing ovation from the eager crowd.

And after he hit some between-the-leg shots and engaged Berlocq in some rallies at the net, the 24-year-old Djokovic, who is 59-2 overall this year, said he understood his role of entertainer.

"One of the guys, on the way out, he said, 'Hey, listen, I paid 100 bucks. You're staying an hour and a half on the court. That's a lot to pay for a ticket. Give me a racket or something.' "

Serena Williams had been equally dominating earlier in the day.

Thursday morning Venus Williams spoke on the ABC morning program "Good Morning America" about her Wednesday announcement that she has the autoimmune disease Sjogren's syndrome. Venus said she has every intention of getting back to tennis now that she had a diagnosis and a medication regimen.

Thursday afternoon Serena hit 10 aces and 25 winners. The three-time U.S. Open champion has so far lost only three games in two rounds, but she said she views winning and losing with a different perspective.

A year ago Serena didn't play the Open because of injuries to her feet suffered in an accident in a German restaurant. Last February, she was hospitalized because of a pulmonary embolism.

"You know, a bad call here or there really isn't the end of the world," she said. "It just makes you realize how important life is and how precious life is. It's a gift we should cherish."

Because of her injury-induced absence from tennis, Serena is ranked 29th in the worldWhile she is 24-0 in second-round matches at the U.S. Open, before this year the fewest number of games Serena had lost upon arrival in the third round was six in 2002, but she wants to get better.

"I never want to be satisfied and think I can't improve," Williams said. "Hopefully I can get a lot better."

If that's true, it's not good news for Victoria Azarenka. Azarenka, seeded fourth, must play Williams in the third round. The Belorussian beat Gisela Dulko, 6-4, 6-3, Thursday. Williams has a career 5-1 edge over Azarenka that includes a 6-3, 6-3 win last month in Toronto.

Azarenka said she did not look at the draw that gave her such a tough early-round matchup as bad luck. "It's a great opportunity really," she said. "I have to raise my level from previous matches and I can do that."

Notables: The improvement by American women continued Thursday. Sloane Stephens, 18, upset 23rd-seeded Shahar Peer of Israel, 6-1, 7-6 (4), and 22-year-old Vania King eliminated 29th-seeded Jarmila Gajdosova of Australia, 6-2, 6-0. Stephens is the daughter of the late John Stephens who played in the NFL for the New England Patriots. Five American women have advanced to the third round, the most here since 2004.

diane.pucin@latimes.com

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