Serena Williams tracks down a forehand return in her straight-set victory… (Timothy A. Clary / AFP / Getty…)
NEW YORK -- At the Australian Open earlier this year veteran Russian Ekaterina Makarova upset Serena Williams in the fourth round. She made Williams run and run, frustrating the American, who didn't seem in ideal physical shape after spending almost a year recovering from injuries and illnesses.
Saturday at the U.S. Open, Makarova played the same, demanding game, hitting her groundstrokes deep and well. But it was a different Williams across the net, one who was physically capable of hunting down balls no matter how long the rallies and it was Williams who advanced to the fourth round at Arthur Ashe Stadium with a 6-4, 6-0 victory that lasted 1 hour 21 minutes and was more fascinating than the final score indicated.
"At 4-all in the first set, when I was trying to get that break, I started playing a little better, a little more consistent," Williams said. Coincidentally, from that 4-all moment, Williams didn't lose another game.
"It was better today," Williams said. "She beat me in Australia this year and I knew I needed to play better. Mentally I'm just going with the flow. This is my home crowd. It's hard not to be so excited being an American playing in front of New York."
Also advancing to the women's fourth round is the No. 2 seed, 3-year-old Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland, who beat 30th-seeded Jelena Jankovic, 6-3, 7-5. It was Radwanska who lost to Williams in a three-set championship final at Wimbledon in July. Radwanska has never been past the fourth round here.
Jack Sock, a 19-year-old from Nebraska who had received a wild card into the main draw, ran out of energy finally. In a match in which he had to call the trainer to work on his legs and arms, Sock lost to 11th-seeded Spaniard Nicolas Almagro, 7-6 (3), 6-7 (4), 7-6 (2), 6-1. For the 27-year-old Almagro, this marks the first time he has advanced as far as the fourth round at the U.S. Open.
Sock was trying to become the first teenage male to reach the fourth round here since Juan Martin del Potro and Kei Nishikori did it in 2008. Sock said his forearm, especially, gets tight and that was why he had it massaged during the match. "I played three events and practiced a lot before I got here," Sock said. "There is a lot of wear and tear on it and it gets a little tight."
There was disappointment in Sock's voice even though he had not been favored to win the match. "I'm disappointed," he said. "I had my opportunities. Just a couple of points here and there changed it. In the third set, for sure, not converting on some break points and then him taking advantage and riding the momentum. But I felt like I was in the match the whole time and definitely had chances. He made a couple more balls when he needed to. I missed a couple of shots that I can't in the future if I want to beat a guy like that."
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