Old order take control at U.S. Open

By Julian Linden

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Serena Williams easily won her eagerly-awaited clash with Sloane Stephens at the U.S. Open on Sunday as normal service resumed at the last grand slam of year.

Williams was one of four U.S. Open champions that won on Sunday, sending a clear message to the next generation of rising stars 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.

"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."

Defending men's champion Andy Murray and world number one 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.

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

The biggest surprise on a day when most results went as expected was the defeat of women's third seed Agnieszka Radwanska.

The Pole, who had made it to the quarter-finals or better at the three other grand slams this year, crumbled to a 6-4 6-4 defeat by Russia's Ekaterina Makarova after she had won the first four games of the match.

Makarova wil play China's Li Na after Asia's top player accounted for Jelena Jankovic 6-3 6-0.

OLDEST CHAMPION

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

"Obviously she's number one 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).

Murray 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.

"It was tough conditions. 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 U.S. 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).

NO DANGER

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 U.S. 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.

Bob and Mike Bryan did give America's men some cheer when they stayed on course to achieve a rare calendar-year grand slam in doubles after coming back to beat Canadians Daniel Nestor and Vasek Pospisil 6-7 (1) 7-5 6-2.

The Bryan brothers have already won each of the last four grand slam doubles titles, starting with last year's U.S. Open, but are bidding to claim all four in the same calendar year.

The only men to have achieved the feat were the Australian pair of Ken McGregor and Frank Sedgman in 1951.

(Editing by Gene Cherry / Ian Ransom / Larry Fine)

Matches

MORE TOP STORIES TODAY

Royal test for Kings

Royal test for Kings

Preview — Clash of philosophies between Australia-centric teams More »

Have nothing to prove to anybody — Sehwag

Have nothing to prove to anybody — Sehwag

The Nawab of Najafgarh says a good run in IPL could help his chances of a comeback on India's tour to England in June. More »

Duminy steals first win for Delhi

Duminy steals first win for Delhi

Furious fifties by Duminy and Dinesh Karthik end a long losing streak for the Daredevils. More »

Five things England must do to bounce back

Five things England must do to bounce back

England have appointed a new head coach in Peter Moores. More »

AB, Parthiv seal Bangalore's second win

AB, Parthiv seal Bangalore's second win

Royal Challengers overcame a stutter to cruise to the small target they were set by Mumbai Indians. More »

‘Felt like helpless minority’

‘Felt like helpless minority’

Former BCCI treasurer Ajay Shirke says emotions got the better of the Srinivasan and he tried to oversimplify things by calling Meiyappan an “enthusia… More »

No way back for Pietersen: ECB

No way back for Pietersen: ECB

Kevin Pietersen's hopes of reviving his international career appeared to end Saturday when ECB managing director Paul Downton said there was 'no way back'… More »

The world record that nearly wasn't

The world record that nearly wasn't

Twenty years ago this week, Brian Lara became Test cricket's highest scorer, but he almost didn't make it. More »

Srinivasan can attend BCCI meeting

Srinivasan can attend BCCI meeting

His status as president of TNCA makes him eligible to attend the Working Committee meeting on Sunday. More »

Moores gets second stint as coach

Moores gets second stint as coach

In a two-year spell from 2007 to 2009, the 51-year-old Moores led England in seven Test series. More »

Bangladesh senior players to see shrink

Bangladesh senior players to see shrink

Bangladesh's senior players will have three sessions with a psychological skill development coach later this month More »

Maxwell carves his parallel universe

Maxwell carves his parallel universe

Glenn Maxwell seems to project an icy disdain when at the crease. Match situations rarely faze him and the bubble in which he plays excludes everyone … More »

BCCI is not anybody’s property — Dalmiya

BCCI is not anybody’s property — Dalmiya

Dalmiya feels that Srinivasan’s ‘power hungry’ attitude isn’t helping matters. More »

Tough for bowlers: Saeed Ajmal

Tough for bowlers: Saeed Ajmal

The 36-year-old believes the T20 format and rule changes in 50-over matches have made a real difference. More »

KP ridicules idea of day-night Tests

KP ridicules idea of day-night Tests

Kevin Pietersen has ridiculed the idea of day-night Test cricket, saying the game would be so different to proper Test cricket that we will need a whole… More »

Rajasthan edge low-scoring thriller

Rajasthan edge low-scoring thriller

The bowlers restricted Hyderabad to 133 for 6 before Rahane and Binny took Rajasthan over the line. More »

Maxwell blitz takes Punjab home

Maxwell blitz takes Punjab home

The Kings XI batsman blasted a 43-ball 95 to help his team pull off a massive chase against Chennai Super Kings. More »

BCCI members want independent probe

BCCI members want independent probe

The board members are realising after the Supreme Court's observations that something has to be done — IS Bindra More »

'BCCI lacks leaders to take on Srini'

'BCCI lacks leaders to take on Srini'

Two former BCCI presidents, Shashank Manohar and Jagmohan Dalmiya, have reacted strongly to the news of the BCCI calling an emergent meeting on Sunday… More »

Delhi look for first points against confident Kolkata

Delhi look for first points against confident Kolkata

Preview — The threat of Sunil Narine looms large again. More »

Bangalore vs Mumbai: A battle of the big-hitters

Bangalore vs Mumbai: A battle of the big-hitters

Preview — Given the firepower in both line-ups, Dubai crowd may see another high-scorer More »

Yuvraj tees off to Sharjah's delight

Yuvraj tees off to Sharjah's delight

Yuvraj Singh was hardly convincing to begin with against Delhi, but a big dose of crowd support and a helping of poor bowling meant he had the opportunity… More »

Stressed Trott stands down again

Stressed Trott stands down again

The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) on Friday confirmed that batsman Jonathan Trott is to take another break from all cricket with immediate eff… More »

PCB starts another coach hunt

PCB starts another coach hunt

The PCB has decided to not extend the contracts of head coach Moin Khan, fielding coach Shoaib Mohammad and batting consultant Zaheer Abbas, and has invited… More »