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Djokovic cool amid fighting

Novak Djokovic ignored fans fighting in the crowd to join Roger Federer and Robin Soderling in the third round of the US Open yesterday.

A scuffle broke out between spectators at the Arthur Ashe Stadium midway through the first set of Djokovic's match with Germany's Philipp Petzschner, but the third seed ignored the distractions on his way to a 7-5 6-3 7-6 triumph.

Second seed and five-time champion Roger Federer also had no trouble in advancing to the last 32, the Swiss star admitting he had enjoyed a "perfect start" to his campaign after taking just one hour and 41 minutes to beat Germany's Andreas Beck 6-3 6-4 6-3.

Fifth seed Soderling was another easy winner, beating American Taylor Dent in straight sets, but sixth seed Nikolay Davydenko was sent crashing out thanks to a sublime performance from France's Richard Gasquet.

Gasquet, who won the junior title at Flushing Meadows in 2002, claimed his first Grand Slam win of the year in the first round after early exits in Australia and Paris and missing Wimbledon with a rib injury. And the enigmatic 24-year-old carried on where he had left off against Germany's Simon Greul, dismissing Davydenko by the same scoreline of 6-3 6-4 6-2.

Davydenko, who missed 11 weeks of the season after breaking his wrist in March, is the highest seed to fall in New York so far.

Mardy Fish earlier continued his impressive form to power into the third round. Fish stormed back from a set down against Uruguay's Pablo Cuevas to win 15 of the next 17 games and complete a 7-5 6-0 6-2 victory.

Fish will face France's Arnaud Clement in the last 32 after Clement's second-round opponent, Eduardo Schwank, was forced to retire hurt from their clash. Clement had won the first set 6-3 and the scores were level at 5-5 in the second when Schwank decided he was unable to continue due to an ankle injury.

Spain's Albert Montanes also advanced to the last 32, the 21st seed enjoying an easy 6-4 6-3 6-1 win against Australia's Carsten Ball.

Maria Sharapova will face a new hero of American tennis for the second year running at the US Open after booking her place in the third round.

Sharapova beat Iveta Benesova 6-1 6-2 in just 66 minutes in the second round to set up a last-32 clash with home favourite Beatrice Capra, with the 18-year-old, who is making her main tour debut in New York, having earlier put out France's Aravane Rezai, the 18th seed.

In the third round last year Sharapova, the 2006 champion, came up against Melanie Oudin and lost in three sets as the 17-year-old went on to reach the quarter-finals.

Top seed Caroline Wozniacki wasted no time in reaching the last 32, hammering Kai-Chen Chang of Chinese Taipei 6-0 6-0 in just 47 minutes.

Fourth seed Jelena Jankovic came through a tough clash with former Wimbledon semi-finalist Mirjana Lucic, winning 6-4 3-6 6-2, while Wimbledon finalist Vera Zvonareva also progressed with a 6-1 7-6 victory over Germany's Sabine Lisicki.

Former champion Svetlana Kuznetsova had no trouble in beating Latvia's Anastasija Sevastova 6-2 6-3, while Belgium's Yanina Wickmayer beat Julia Goerges 6-4 7-5. But 22nd seed Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez lost in straight sets to Switzerland's Patty Schnyder.