US Open 2020: Serena sets up Sloane showdown in New York

By Sports Desk September 03, 2020

Serena Williams produced an improved performance as the third seed moved into the third round of the US Open after defeating Margarita Gasparyan 6-2 6-4 in New York.

Williams – in pursuit of a record-equalling 24th grand slam title – was not at her free-flowing best against countrywoman Kristie Ahn on Tuesday, tallying 24 unforced errors at Flushing Meadows.

But the former world number one was closer to her best on Thursday, reducing that count to 16 unforced errors to go with 27 winners as she set up an all-American showdown with 2017 winner Sloane Stephens.

Yet to add to her slam honours since winning the 2017 Australian Open, having lost four major finals since that last success at Melbourne Park, Williams made a fast start under the Arthur Ashe Stadium lights.

Williams raced out to a 3-0 lead against Russia's Gasparyan, who continued to fight as she earned a break point in the fifth game, though it was emphatically saved by the former.

American superstar Williams then broke again for a 5-1 lead, but Gasparyan stayed alive by breaking to love in the very next game, though it only delayed the inevitable as the six-time US Open champion closed out the set on her opponent's serve.

Gasparyan refused to go away, the world number 117 continuing to play her shots against Williams, who went up a break in the second set.

Williams performed when it mattered most in a tense, 10-minute sixth game as she converted a fifth break-point chance, but the 38-year-old dropped serve as Gasparyan eventually levelled at 4-4.

Willing herself on in the closing stages, Williams produced a gutsy hold in the ninth game before breaking to 15 to book her spot in the next round, while claiming a record-extending 103rd US Open match victory.

 

STATISTICAL BREAKDOWN  

Williams [3] bt Gasparyan 6-2 6-4

WINNERS/UNFORCED ERRORS   

Williams – 27/16
Gasparyan – 16/22

ACES/DOUBLE FAULTS   

Williams – 7/5
Gasparyan – 1/2

BREAK POINTS WON    

Williams – 6/12
Gasparyan – 3/6

FIRST SERVE PERCENTAGE   

Williams – 58
Gasparyan – 55

PERCENTAGE OF POINTS WON ON FIRST/SECOND SERVE   

Williams – 62/48
Gasparyan – 51/38

TOTAL POINTS   

Williams – 72
Gasparyan – 58

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