NEW YORK – Serena Williams reached her first Grand Slam quarterfinal of the year with a 6-3, 6-3 victory over Kaia Kenepi at the U.S. Open on Monday, keeping her hopes alive for a third straight Flushing Meadows crown.
Williams, who lost in the fourth round of the Australian Open, the second round of the French Open and third round of Wimbledon, said she felt the pressure of getting to the quarters in New York.
I finally made a quarterfinal this year! Williams said in her on-court interview, raising her hands to the cheers of the crowd in Arthur Ashe Stadium. I think I felt it in my service game. I’m like, Can I please make it to a Grand Slam quarters this year?’
The top-seeded man, Novak Djokovic also rolled into the quarters on another hot, muggy day at Flushing Meadows, playing mostly mistake-free tennis in a 6-1, 7-5, 6-4 dismantling of 22-seeded Philipp Kohlschreiber of Germany.
For Djokovic, the 2011 U.S. Open champion, it marked his eighth straight quarterfinals at the tournament – 22nd consecutive Grand Slam tournament overall. The last time Djokovic was eliminated before the quarterfinals at a major was a third-round loss to Kohlschreiber at the 2009 French Open.
Asked to explain that consistency, Djokovic said, I love the sport and I play it with a lot of passion. He then did a dance for the crowd at Louis Armstrong Stadium.
Next up for the Serb, who reached the U.S. Open final each of the past four years, will be a match against 2012 U.S. Open champion Andy Murray, who defeated ninth-seeded Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 7-5, 7-5, 6-4.
Murray needed 2 hours, 35 minutes to defeat the Frenchman
The first two sets were very long, tough sets, mentally very draining, Murray said in an on-court interview. Glad to get through.
Williams next plays 11th-seeded Flavia Pennetta, a 7-5, 6-2 winner over 29th-seeded Casey Dellacqua.
Pennetta, who reached the semifinals of the U.S. Open last year, said she needs to do her best with the tools she has to have a chance against the top-ranked Williams.
You cannot invent something. I mean, you just have to play your tennis, Pennetta said. Of course, she’s better than me, but if I still believe I can beat her, maybe if she doesn’t have a good day, I can do that.
Unlike the men’s side, which entered Monday with only one major upset, No. 4 David Ferrer, the women’s draw has been decimated.
Monday, No. 7 Eugenie Bouchard, the runner-up at Wimbledon in July, needed a medical timeout and was beaten 7-6 (2), 6-4 by 17th-seeded Ekaterina Makarova of Russia.
Only No. 10 Caroline Wozniacki has survived among the top 10 seeds going into the tournament’s second week.
Victoria Azarenka, the No. 16 seed and U.S. Open finalist loser to Williams the last two years, ended the surprising run of Serbian qualifier Aleksandra Krunic with a 4-6, 6-4, 6-4 win to earn a spot in the quarterfinals.
Also Monday, the No. 1 doubles team of Bob and Mike Bryan rolled on in their quest for a 100th career title with a 6-3, 7-6 (5) victory over U.S. countrymen Bradley Klahn and Tim Smyzek. The Bryans, who hold a record 15 Grand Slam tournament titles, have yet to drop a set on their road to the quarterfinals.