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Serena sails into fourth round

Avenges Aussie loss to Makarova

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NEW YORK -- Serena Williams didn't watch any video of her Australian Open loss to Ekaterina Makarova as she prepared for their rematch at the U.S. Open.

She even hates looking at photos from defeats. But she is free to check out this match again after she won in straight sets in the third round Saturday.

Back when she used to relive those losses on tape, Williams said: "It was like stabbing myself."

No such pain so far at this year's U.S. Open. The fourth-seeded American won 6-4, 6-0, avenging her straight-set defeat in the Australian Open's fourth round.

The 42nd-ranked Makarova fell to 1-14 against top-five players.

When they played in January, Williams had seven double-faults and 37 unforced errors. The numbers Saturday were one and 16.

Top-ranked Roger Federer and third-seeded Andy Murray advanced to the fourth round on the men's side. Federer had a much easier time, beating 25th-seeded Fernando Verdasco 6-3, 6-4, 6-4. Murray was helped by some mistakes in the three tiebreakers by Feliciano Lopez to win 7-6 (5), 7-6 (5), 4-6, 7-6 (6) in nearly four hours.

Canada's Milos Raonic advanced to the fourth round in dominating fashion Saturday, blasting past American James Blake 6-3, 6-0, 7-6 (3).

The hard-hitting 21-year-old from Thornhill, Ont., is the first Canadian male to get this far at Flushing Meadows since 1988, when Montreal's Martin Laurendeau did it.

With the win, the 15th-seeded Raonic lined up a meeting with Olympic gold medallist Murray.

Raonic moved quickly on Saturday, crushing the 32-year-old Blake with 28 aces in under two hours.

Agnieszka Radwanska, in her own words, survived her match. On a steamy day at Flushing Meadows, the second-seeded Pole was relieved to beat Jelena Jankovic in straight sets -- and even that 6-3, 7-5 victory took 1 hour, 38 minutes.

"I was feeling like I was melting there," Radwanska said. "I survived the match. In the second set, I was just better for a couple of points."

She was broken four times, but Radwanska converted six of seven break-point chances against the 30th-seeded Serb.

While Radwanska is ranked a career-high No. 2 and coming off her first Grand Slam final at Wimbledon, Jankovic has fallen far from her No. 1 ranking in 2008 and hasn't been back to a title match at a major tournament since the U.S. Open that year. With confidence on her side, Radwanska knew patience would pay off.

"Especially with the hot conditions, you really have to fight more yourself than against the opponent," she said.

Jankovic had 37 unforced errors to 15 for Radwanska, who reached the fourth round at the U.S. Open for the first time since 2008. She has never been to the quarter-finals here.

"I think everything could happen today," Radwanska said. "So what I was trying to do, just fight 'til the end. Was a lot of the games that was like 30-all, 30-love, and then suddenly I was winning the games. It was a lot of weird points."

And a lot of long rallies, which both players tend to produce. On Saturday, they had six of at least 20 shots.

"We always have to run a lot in our matches, for sure," Radwanska said.

Her next opponent is 20th-seeded Roberta Vinci, who beat No. 13 seed Dominika Cibulkova 6-2, 7-5.

Nicolas Almagro, seeded 11th on the men's side, beat American teenager Jack Sock 7-6 (3), 6-7 (4), 7-6 (2), 6-1 to reach the round of 16 at Flushing Meadows for the first time.

Martin Klizan, who upset fifth-seeded Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the second round, extended his best Grand Slam run by beating 32nd-seeded Jeremy Chardy 6-4, 6-4, 6-4. He next faces 12th-seeded Marin Cilic, who defeated 17th-seeded Kei Nishikori in four sets.

Federer saved the lone break point he faced in the victory over No. 25 Verdasco.

Murray came from behind to win all three tiebreakers against 30th-seeded Lopez.


-- The Associated Press

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition September 2, 2012 B7

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