US Open: Sharapova, Azarenka win as Robson stuns Li Na

Maria Sharapova continued her imperious march through the draw at the US Open as she crushed American college player Mallory Burdette 6-1 6-1 on Friday.

The French Open champion needed just 58 minutes to send world number 252 Burdette packing.

"I expected her to play a big, solid match," said Sharapova, the 2006 U.S. Open champion. "She came out, she has pretty huge groundstrokes, and she likes to go for it.

"She's certainly somebody who could be dangerous if you give her the time to do what she likes to do."

Burdette, a 21-year-old wild card entry into the tournament, did not have time to do much of anything as she was swept off the court in 58 minutes.

Laura Robson is making a name for herself at the US Open. Reuters

Sharapova, who has lost just seven games in her first three matches, now plays Russian compatriot Nadia Petrova, a 6-4 7-5 winner over Czech Lucie Safarova.

Despite missing the hardcourt run-up to Flushing Meadows, Sharapova is playing as well as anyone in the women's draw.

"I didn't know too much going into this event because I hadn't played on hard in a few months," she said. "That made me extra focused, and I wanted to really get going from the beginning and be aggressive.

"Took a little bit of a break after Wimbledon and went home. I kind of recharged a little bit. Certainly feel a lot more energy than I did maybe after the French (Open)."

Sharapova said Petrova has "been playing really good tennis."

"She's someone that likes the faster courts, especially in New York," said Sharapova, who owns a 8-1 lifetime mark against Petrova. "I have had some tough matches against her.

"Although I have a good record, they have always been really tough and have gone to some three-setters, some tough two-setters.

AZARENKA SWEEPS ASIDE ZHENG

Top seed Victoria Azarenka swept past China's Zheng Jie 6-1 6-0 in less than an hour on Friday night to advance to the fourth round of the U.S Open.

The Australian Open champion took just 59 minutes to set up a contest against the winner of the tie between Luxembourg's Mandy Minella and Georgia's Anna Tatishvili for a place in the quarter finals.

Belarussian Azarenka has lost only six games in her first three matches at Flushing Meadows.

TEENAGER ROBSON OUSTS LI NA

China's ninth seed Li Na suffered the same fate as Kim Clijsters as she was dumped out of the U.S. Open on Friday by British teenager Laura Robson.

The former French Open champion was outplayed by the 18-year-old, going down 6-4 6-7 6-2 in the third round.

"I was feeling that I still had a chance but I was making a lot of mistakes the whole match," Li told reporters. "That gave her a lot of confidence and gave her free points, made her feel like she could win."

Former Wimbledon junior champion Robson had sent three-time champion Clijsters into retirement in round two and followed up with another nerveless display full of strong serving and huge hitting, especially on her forehand.

Li lifted her game to snatch the tiebreak 7-5 and force a decider but Robson continued to attack at every opportunity.

At 2-2 in the third set, Robson thought she had broken serve but umpire Louise Engzell ruled that the point should be replayed, even though Li had missed with her reply.

But Robson kept her head, breaking twice to lead 5-2 and then serving out the match to set up a meeting with defending champion Samantha Stosur.

"I knew if I kept sticking with her and playing my shots it might pay off and it did," Robson said in a television interview.

STOSUR SURVIVES LEPCHENKO TEST

Australia's Samantha Stosur came through the first real test of her title defence as she beat American Varvara Lepchenko 7-6 6-2 to reach the fourth round on Friday.

The first set was a dogfight but the seventh seed took the tiebreak and then lifted her game to romp through the second set.

Stosur was broken in the opening game of the match, setting the tone for a gruelling first set, which lasted 59 minutes.

But the Australian snatched it 7-5 to move ahead and with the pressure off, she ran through the second to reach the last 16.

Reuters

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