Serena Williams, battling the wind as much as her opponent, eased into the quarter-finals of the US Open yesterday with a 6-3 6-4 win over Serbia's Ana Ivanovic.
Both players struggled with their serves and ground strokes on a gusty Arthur Ashe Stadium but it was the American who fared better.
Williams served nine aces and one double fault while Ivanovic landed just three aces and eight double faults and made more than twice as many unforced errors as her opponent.
"It was so windy today, it was really difficult," said Williams, who only recently returned after a long injury lay-off. "I feel so blessed to be here. A couple of months ago I didn't think I would."
Williams will next play 17th-seeded Russian Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, who reached the quarter-final with a 5-7 6-3 6-4 victory over seventh seed Francesca Schiavone.
The match featured 16 breaks of serve, which was perhaps not surprising given Pavlyuchenkova hit 11 double faults and Schiavone 10.
The crucial double came from the Italian when she was serving to stay in the match. Having saved two match points, she gave the advantage back to her opponent and Pavlyuchenkova did not miss a third chance, clinching victory with a big forehand.
Novak Djokovic survived a marathon tiebreaker then cruised the rest of the way to beat Alexandr Dolgopolov in the fourth round. The Serb won 7-6 (14), 6-4, 6-2 and will now face countryman Janko Tipsarevic in the quarter-finals.
Djokovic fought off four set points in the tiebreaker against the 22nd-seeded Ukrainian before gaining full control.
Rafael Nadal, meanwhile, faces Gilles Muller in fourth round today after allaying fitness fears raised when the Spaniard collapsed at a press conference following his victory over David Nalbandian on Sunday.
"It was just cramping in the right leg, in the front and in the back. It was very painful, that's all," said Nadal. "It was just a normal cramp that could have happened anywhere, but it happened in the press room.
"Anywhere else, nobody would have noticed."
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