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US PHOTOS: Serena beats Stephens as Murray, Djokovic cruise

Last updated on: September 02, 2013 09:25 IST

US PHOTOS: Serena beats Stephens as Murray, Djokovic cruise

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Serena Williams easily won her eagerly-awaited clash with Sloane Stephens at the US Open on Sunday as normal service resumed at the last Grand Slam of the year.

Williams was one of four US Open champions that won on Sunday, sending a clear message to the next generation's finest that they will have to wait their turn.

The 31-year-old avenged her loss to Stephens at the Australian Open with an emphatic 6-4, 6-1 victory to keep her title defence on course.


Image: Serena Williams of the US
Photographs: Eduardo Munoz/Reuters

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'It's difficult playing against people that you like'

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"It's definitely difficult, especially playing people that you like, that you always want to see do well," Williams said.

"But you have to go out there and kind of put that to the side and realize, I want to do well myself and take every point as it comes."

Stephens beat Williams in January in the quarter-finals at Melbourne Park to enhance her standing as a future leader of US women's tennis, but was completed outgunned by a woman bidding to become the oldest to win the US Open since tennis turned professional in 1968.


Image: Serena Williams of the US
Photographs: Chris Trotman/Getty Images

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'I thought I competed well and played well'

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"Obviously she's No 1 in the world for a reason," said Stephens, 11 years younger than Williams.

"I thought she played really well.

"All in all I thought I competed well and played well. That's all you can do really."

Williams will play Carla Suarez Navarro in the quarter-finals, the Spaniard having upset Germany's eighth-seed Angelique Kerber 4-6, 6-3, 7-6(3).


Image: Sloane Stephens of United States
Photographs: Elsa/Getty Images

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Murray struggled to impose himself on Mayer

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Defending men's champion Andy Murray and world No 1 Novak Djokovic also won in straight sets, while 2001 winner Lleyton Hewitt turned back the clock to reach the fourth round for the first time since 2006.

Murray, playing in the middle of a hot and steamy day, needed less than two hours to see off Germany's Florian Mayer 7-6(2), 6-2, 6-2 and advance to the fourth round.

He struggled to impose himself on Mayer in the opening set but once he adapted to the humidity and gusting winds it was all smooth sailing.


Image: Andy Murray of Great Britain shakes hands at the net with Florian Mayer of Germany
Photographs: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

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'I was struggling breathing for most of the match'

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"It was tough conditions, not tricky. It was very, very humid," Murray said.

"I was struggling breathing for most of the match."

Murray's opponent in the fourth round will be Uzbekistan's Denis Istomin, who beat Italy's Andreas Seppi 6-3, 6-4, 2-6, 3-6, 6-1, with Tomas Berdych looming in the quarter-finals.

Berdych, seeded fifth, made the semi-finals at last year's US Open and has been in great form at Flushing Meadows this week, reaching the last 16 without dropping a set.

The Czech dispatched Julien Benneteau of France 6-0, 6-3, 6-2 to set up a fourth round clash with Switzerland's Stanislas Wawrinka, who defeated Marcos Baghdatis of Cyprus 6-3, 6-2, 6-7(1), 7-6(7).


Image: Andy Murray of Great Britain shakes hands at the net with Florian Mayer of Germany
Photographs: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

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No danger for Djokovic

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Djokovic was even more ruthless in his centre court night match against Portugal's Joao Sousa, cruising to a 6-0, 6-2 6-2 win.

Djokovic has yet to lose a set in the tournament and the 26-year-old was never in any danger against the 95th-ranked Sousa.

The 2011 US Open champion faced just two break points on his own serve as he raced to victory in 100 minutes.

"Just doing my job, win in straight sets and spend as less time on court as possible," he said.

The Serbian's next opponent is Marcel Granollers, one of four Spaniards in the men's last 16, who knocked the last American out when he edged wildcard Tim Smyczek 6-4, 4-6, 0-6, 6-3, 7-5.


Image: Novak Djokovic of Serbia celebrates
Photographs: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

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'When you've been to the top you want to keep playing'

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The 32-year-old Hewitt wore down Russia's Evgeny Donskoy 6-3, 7-6(5), 3-6, 6-1.

"Obviously when you've been to the top you want to keep playing," said Hewitt, who stunned sixth seed Juan Martin del Potro in the previous round.

"The reason you're playing is for the majors, and, for me, Davis Cup as well. That's the reason I'm still playing."


Image: Lleyton Hewitt of Australia celebrates a point
Photographs: Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

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