NEW YORK – Serena Williams does not enjoy viewing videos of her losses. Not one bit.
She used to engage in that sort of film work, Williams said, but it was so painful; it was like stabbing myself.
So even though Williams knew her third-round opponent at the U.S. Open would be the same woman she lost to at the Australian Open, preparing by studying a replay of that January defeat simply was out of the question.
It didn’t seem to matter at all.
After splitting Saturday’s first eight games against 42nd-ranked Ekaterina Makarova of Russia, the fourth-seeded Williams got into high gear and breezed to a 6-4, 6-0 victory, reeling off the last eight games in a row.
Definitely was motivated. Knowing that I lost; could definitely happen again. Did not want that to happen, said Williams, who hit 13 aces to raise her tour-leading total this season to 408.
I really hate watching matches that I lose, unless I’m punishing myself, added the 14-time Grand Slam champion. I didn’t punish myself.
She hasn’t been losing much lately. Since the only first-round Grand Slam exit of her career, against 111th-ranked Virginie Razzano at the French Open on May 29, Williams is 22-1 in singles, including the title at Wimbledon and the gold medal at the London Olympics.
In New York, Williams has dropped only 12 games entering her fourth-round match against 82nd-round Andrea Hlavackova of Czech Republic. Hlavackova, the 2011 French Open doubles champion, bawled on court after her 5-7, 6-4, 6-4 win over 14th-seeded Maria Kirilenko, whose boyfriend, Washington Capitals star Alex Ovechkin, was in New York to cheer for her.
The woman Williams beat in the Wimbledon final, second-seeded Agnieszka Radwanska, dealt with the 90-degree heat and former No. 1 Jelena Jankovic with equal aplomb during a 6-3, 7-5 victory.
I was feeling like I was melting there, Radwanska said. I survived the match.
She wasn’t the only one who felt that way.
Olympic champion Andy Murray, still seeking his first Grand Slam title after four losses in finals, eked out a 7-6 (5), 7-6 (5), 4-6, 7-6 (4) victory over No. 30 Feliciano Lopez, who led in each of the three tiebreakers before faltering.
The man Murray beat for the gold at the Summer Games, and lost to in the Wimbledon title match, Roger Federer, is also Murray’s potential semifinal opponent in New York. Federer, as is often the case, barely was bothered Saturday while dismissing No. 25 Fernando Verdasco 6-3, 6-4, 6-4.
He didn’t give me many chances with his serve, said Verdasco, who held only one break point and failed to convert it.
No. 15 Milos Raonic defeated American wild-card entry James Blake 6-3, 6-0, 7-6 (3).
Other men’s winners included No. 11 Nicolas Almagro, who ended the run of 19-year-old American Jack Sock 7-6 (3), 6-7 (4), 7-6 (2), 6-1; No. 12 Marin Cilic, who defeated No. 17 Kei Nishikori; and 50th-ranked Martin Klizan of Slovakia, who beat No. 32 Jeremy Chardy.
Former No. 1 Ana Ivanovic ended 19-year-old American Sloane Stephens’ run at the U.S. Open for the second consecutive year.
The 12th-seeded Ivanovic overcame 56 unforced errors to beat Stephens 6-7 (4), 6-4, 6-2 in the third round Saturday night.