Serena Williams advances to 3rd round; Murray ousted

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Serena Williams follows through on a shot to Margarita Gasparyan during the third round of the U.S. Open tennis championships in New York on Thursday. Photo: AP/Frank Franklin II

Serena Williams’ drive for her 24th major championship continued with a 6-2, 6-4 win over Margarita Gasparyan Thursday night to advance to the third round of the U.S. Open.

Williams improved her career record to 20-0 in the second round at Flushing Meadows and will play Sloane Stephens in the next round. Williams leads the series 5-1.

Wearing crowns on her sneakers, Williams had 27 winners and seven aces to put away Gasparyan.

Williams has won 23 Grand Slam singles titles, the most in the professional era and one shy of Margaret Court’s mark of 24. She’s won the U.S. Open six times and finished runner-up each of the last two years. Her opening win was her 102nd in the U.S. Open, breaking a tie with Chris Evert for most in the professional era, which started in 1968.

She improved to 5-2 since tennis resumed from the pandemic break.

Ninth-seeded Johanna Konta had an early exit at Flushing Meadows. Romania’s Sorana Cîrstea knocked off Konta 2-6, 7-6, 6-4 to earn her spot in the third round.

Reigning Australian Open champion Sofia Kenin won her second-round match against unseeded Leylah Fernandez 6-4, 6-3.

Amanda Anisimova won a matchup of American teenagers, rallying past wild card Katrina Scott 4-6, 6-4, 6-1 in the second round of the U.S. Open.

The 19-year-old Anisimova, a surprise semifinalist at the French Open last year, steadied her game in the second set and pulled away. The 16-year-old Scott is ranked 637th and was coming off her first tour-level victory in the opening round Tuesday when she made her debut in the main draw of a Grand Slam.

Anisimova, who is seeded 22nd, won the girls’ singles at the Open in 2017.

Tsvetana Pironkova pulled off an upset to reach the third round, her first tournament after a three-year break to focus on motherhood.

Pironkova, who has no ranking because of her layoff, beat No. 10-seeded Garbiñe Muguruza 7-5, 6-3.

In men’s action, Andy Murray’s U.S. Open ended with a straight-set loss to 15th-seeded Felix Auger-Aliassime in the second round.

Coming off a five-set win in the opening round that lasted more than 4 1/2 hours, Murray — a 33-year-old playing on an artificial hip — just did not have enough left in the tank.

Auger-Aliassime’s 6-2, 6-3, 6-4 victory allowed him to give Canada three men in the third round of a Grand Slam tournament for the first time. Denis Shapovalov and Vasek Pospisil are the others.

Auger-Aliassime compiled a 52-9 edge in winners and never allowed Murray to earn a single break point.

Vasek Pospisil beat fellow Canadian Milos Raonic 6-7, 6-3, 7-6, 6-3 to advance to the third round.

Pospisil has been strong since returning from surgery last year on a herniated disk and helped Canada reach the 2019 Davis Cup final. He was strong over the last three sets to hold off the 25th-seeded Raonic.

It’s been a strong start at Flushing Meadows for the Canadians. Montreal’s Felix Auger-Aliassime and Denis Shapovalov of Toronto also won their men’s opening matches to send four men into the second round for the first time since 1959.

Pospisil is into the third round of the U.S. Open for the first time in his career. Raonic has never advanced past the third round of this tournament. He seemed poised for better things after reaching the final of the Western & Southern Open.

Pospisil next plays No. 8 Roberto Bautista Agut.

Second-seeded Dominic Thiem earned a spot in the third round with a 6-3, 6-3, 6-1 win over over Sumit Nagal. Thiem, who turned 27 on Thursday, faces 2014 U.S. Open champion Marin Cilic in the next round.

Daniil Medvedev beat Australian Christopher O’Connell 6-3, 6-2, 6-4 victory to advance to the third round.

The third-seeded Medvedev won under the closed roof of Louis Armstrong Stadium because of rain. He’s in the third round for the third straight year.

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