• Saturday, December 20, 2014

Freedom in the air

Sharapova, Wawrinka battle thru' to 3rd Rd

Afp, New York

French Open champion Maria Sharapova and Australian Open winner Stan Wawrinka survived some shaky moments Wednesday to book their third-round berths at the US Open.

Sharapova, who lifted her fifth Grand Slam title at Roland Garros this year, fought back from a set down in a gritty 4-6, 6-3, 6-2 win over 95th-ranked Romanian Alexandra Dulgheru.

Sharapova and Wawrinka were the day's headliners as two-time defending women's champion Serena Williams and the top men Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer and Andy Murray all had the day off.

Wawrinka, the third seed from Switzerland, turned back the challenge of Brazilian left-hander Thomaz Bellucci 6-3, 6-4, 3-6, 7-6 (7/1) to become the first men's seed into the third round.

American women were keeping the home flag flying, and five-time Grand Slam champion Venus Williams did her part.

The two-time winner, who hadn't made it past the second round the past three years, reached the third round with a 6-1, 6-4 victory over Timea Bacsinszky.

Fourth-seeded Pole Agnieszka Radwanska became the tournament's biggest upset victim, falling 6-3, 6-4 to China's Peng Shuai.

World number two Simona Halep needed less than an hour to book her third-round berth, with a 6-2, 6-1 victory over Slovakian Jana Cepelova.

Halep was broken early to trail 0-2, but won 12 of the next 13 games to secure the win.

Sixth-seeded German Angelique Kerber also advanced on cue, downing Russian Alla Kudryavtseva 6-2, 6-4.

Men's sixth-seed Tomas Berdych of Czech Republic brought Lleyton Hewitt's 62nd Grand Slam appearance to a quick end, downing the former world number one, and 2001 champion, 6-3, 6-4, 6-3.

Seventh-seeded Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov finally ended his US Open jinx. After coming up empty in three straight appearances, he defeated US wildcard Harrison 6-2, 7-6 (7/4), 6-2.

South African Kevin Anderson rallied from a break down in the final set to defeat Uruguay's Pablo Cuevas 6-3, 6-7 (3/7), 4-6, 6-2, 7-6 (7/1) in just over four hours.

But three men's matches were cut short by injury retirements.

Published: 12:00 am Friday, August 29, 2014

Last modified: 1:47 am Friday, August 29, 2014

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