New York: Serena Williams powered to a record 307th Grand Slam match win on Saturday to reach the fourth round of the US Open.
Williams moved ahead of Martina Navratilova for most match wins in the majors by a woman, and tied Roger Federer's mark for men with a 6-2, 6-1 pasting of Sweden's Johanna Larsson.
The American superstar, seeking a record seventh US Open title, next faces Kazakhstan's Yaroslava Shvedova, a 6-2, 7-5 winner over China's Zhang Shuai.
"That's pretty awesome," Williams said of surpassing Navratilova. "And what better place to do than here where it all started."
Williams claimed the first of her 22 Grand Slam singles titles at the US Open in 1999. A 23rd major triumph would take her past the Open Era record she now shares with Steffi Graf and closer to Margaret Court's all-time record of 24.
Although a right shoulder injury had left Williams looking vulnerable since her triumph at Wimbledon, she needed just an hour to subdue Larsson, the world number 47 who has never made it past the third round of a Grand slam and had lost in the first round of her six prior US Open appearances.
"It was a really good match for me, because she played a different kind of game," Williams said. "It was really good for me to have a different type of rhythm and just move the ball around. So overall it was pretty good."
Fifth seed Simona Halep narrowly avoided a third-round upset with a 6-1 2-6 6-4 win over Hungary's Timea Babos on Saturday to keep her U.S. Open title hopes alive.
Halep came into the match having dropped nine games in her opening two matches and looked ready to make speedy work of Babos but she needed two hours and eight minutes on an overcast Arthur Ashe Stadium court to secure her place in the last 16.
After blitzing the opening set in 24 minutes, Halep meekly surrendered the second to the 34th-ranked Babos, who had been knocked out in the opening round in four previous visits to Flushing Meadows.
Babos continued to apply the pressure in the third, breaking Halep at the first opportunity, but the fiery Romanian battled back, angrily smashing her racket on to the court before holding serve for a 5-4 lead.
Halep was gifted her place in the fourth round when Babos double-faulted to hand her the break and match.
"I don’t know how I came back," Halep told reporters. "I felt like I didn’t play my best but I was fighting to the end for every ball.
Next up for Halep is 11th-seeded Spaniard Carla Suarez Navarro who advanced with a tidy 6-4 6-3 win over Russian Elena Vesnina.
First Published On : Sep 4, 2016 00:59 IST