US Open 2020: Serena Williams through after battle with Sloane Stephens

Serena Williams of the United States serves to Sloane Stephens of the United States

Serena Williams of the United States serves to Sloane Stephens of the United States

"In that first set I don't think she made any errors, honestly".

Asked how she compartmentalises the day-today challenge of competition with the attention 23 Grand Slam titles can bring, Williams simply said: "Sometimes it's harder than others".

The 38-year-old closed out the first set easily before a slight wobble in the second when she was broken twice by Gasparyan, before progressing into the third round.

However, Williams discovered her most potent weapon - her first serve - to hold and demoralise Stephens.

And former number one Victoria Azarenka said she had "a great opportunity" to end her seven-year wait for a third Grand Slam after booking a last 16 berth with a straight-sets win over Poland's Iga Swiatek.

"She may have been playing with some princesses upstairs!".

"It was intense, we always have some incredible matches", she said.

Red card tackle could rule Owen Farrell out of Leinster clash
The England fly-half was sent off during Saracens' clash with Wasps earlier this afternoon. Former Leinster player Jimmy Goperth kicked 23 points as Wasps ran out 28-18 winners.

Stephens, who has slipped to No. 39 in the world, entered the second Grand Slam of the year with a miserable 1-7 record but Williams still expects a stern challenge. "Oh my gosh, '" Williams said during her on-court interview after the match.

Her next hurdle comes in the form of Maria Sakkari of Greece, who cut short Williams' Western & Southern Open campaign just 10 days ago in the tournament's third round.

"I said, "Serena, just get a game, get a game" and the next thing I knew I won the second set". It is one that Williams has fought mightily to reach. Many wondered if she had become accustomed to the energy of the adoring crowd and would struggle in its absence.

Others wondered if the crowd had actually been a hindrance, as it increased the pressure on her. Williams hasn't provided much insight either way during any of the tournaments since the restart but has called it "relaxing" on multiple occasions.

Williams needed to improve quickly and she did, finding more first serves and hanging with Stephens from the back of the court.

Third seed and beaten finalist previous year Daniil Medvedev made light work of Australia's 116th-ranked Christopher O'Connell, easing into round three 6-3, 6-2, 6-4.

Williams v Sakkari is a rematch of their meeting won last month by Sakkari at the Western & Southern Open, a hard-court tournament played at the US Open site instead of its usual home in OH because of the pandemic. Although the previous victory helps the No. 15-seeded Sakkari's confidence heading into the match, she acknowledged just how tough it will be - even without a supportive crowd behind the superstar. "Otherwise there is no chance against her".

Recommended News

  • Pentagon Says It Will Close 'Stars and Stripes' Newspaper

    Pentagon Says It Will Close 'Stars and Stripes' Newspaper

    The tweet from Trump comes as The Atlantic reports that the president denigrated fallen service members as "suckers" and "losers". If Congress chooses to fund Stars and Stripes in the 2021 fiscal year, the outlet will continue publishing.

    Osama Bin Laden's Niece Endorses Donald Trump For President

    Protects who? This broad lives alllll the way in Switzerland talmbout some " Trump protects America". She is the daughter of Carmen Dufour, a Swiss author, and Yeslam bin Ladin, a half-brother of Osama.
    'Quite nice not to be abused,' says Australia's Warner after England loss

    'Quite nice not to be abused,' says Australia's Warner after England loss

    But star batsman Steve Smith's exit for just 18 sparked a collapse that saw Australia lose four wickets for nine runs in 14 balls. England , however, will look to better their run scoring and consolidate their lead in the three-match T20I series.
  • Russian Federation markets COVID-19 vaccine to Nigeria

    The report quoted Logunov as saying that the necessary approval could be granted to vaccine in a few days. On August 15, the Russian Health Ministry announced the launch of vaccine production.
    Callum Wilson: Newcastle's £20m bid for Bournemouth striker accepted

    Callum Wilson: Newcastle's £20m bid for Bournemouth striker accepted

    Wilson scored 14 Premier League goals in the 2018/19 campaign, while he hit the back of the net eight times last term. Aston Villa have withdrawn a higher bid of £21m, with Wilson preferring a move to St James' Park.
    Ford's electric Mustang dragster covers a quarter-mile in 8.27 seconds

    Ford's electric Mustang dragster covers a quarter-mile in 8.27 seconds

    Ford built the one-off prototype to explore the potential for electric powertrains in the world of drag racing. In fact, I'm a big fan of electrified vehicles and they throw around insane amounts of torque.
  • 10-Year-Old Faces Dave Grohl in a Drum Battle!

    10-Year-Old Faces Dave Grohl in a Drum Battle!

    Thank you for giving me this incredible opportunity. "Now the ball is in your court", he said as he drummed along to the track. Rock star Dave Grohl has told Nandi Bushell to "stay tuned" for a possible online drum battle rematch.
    Donny Van De Beek Was Wanted By Six Clubs

    Donny Van De Beek Was Wanted By Six Clubs

    Manchester United already have midfielders like Paul Pogba and Bruno Fernandes in the team. If they sign Sancho, Mason Greenwood doesn't play.
    Coronavirus: Virgin Atlantic to cut 1150 more jobs

    Coronavirus: Virgin Atlantic to cut 1150 more jobs

    Virgin Altlantic (VS/VIR) is to cut 1,150 more jobs as its £1.2bn rescue plan gets approved. Virgin Atlantic does not foresee a return to pre-crisis levels of flying until 2023.
  • Abiteboul: Renault F1 role not affected by Alpine

    Abiteboul: Renault F1 role not affected by Alpine "mission"

    The four core business units are the Renault , Dacia and Alpine brands, plus a New Mobility operation. It's not in any way a permanent appointment whatsoever.
    Match-winner Sterling hails England for 'finding something deep within' against Iceland

    Match-winner Sterling hails England for 'finding something deep within' against Iceland

    How Bjarnason wished he had showed the same composure as his wild finish moments later let England off the hook. Sterling concurred, telling Sky Sports: "We shouldn't have conceded a sloppy penalty in the end".
    Authentic wins the 146th Kentucky Derby

    Authentic wins the 146th Kentucky Derby

    Authentic won by 1¼ lengths without the usual crowd of 150,000 on hand at Churchill Downs because of the coronavirus pandemic. There will be 16 horses in the field. "I just wish Jimmy was here with me", Baffert said.

We are pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news.
Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper.
Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.