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US Open: Serena, Murray advance


Serena Williams of the US and Ekaterina Makarova of Russia meet at the net after their 2016 US Open Women's Singles match at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on August 30, 2016 in New York. Don EMMERT / AFP

Serena Williams of the US and Ekaterina Makarova of Russia meet at the net after their 2016 US Open Women’s Singles match at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on August 30, 2016 in New York.<br />Don EMMERT / AFP

History-chasing Serena Williams gave notice of her mission when she defeated Russia’s Ekaterina Makarova in straight sets to advance into the second round in a late night match in her first game in the newly covered Arthur Ashe Stadium where she won her first Grand slam title in 1999.

On the other side, second seeded Andy Murray over ran Lukas Rosol of Czech Republic also in straight sets that did not convey the closeness of the encounter.

Serena jumped to a 5-2 lead in the first set but Makarova won her serve to take the eighth game. Serving for the set, Serena was forced to deuce, but she delivered an ace to get the advantage point. The second ace (timed at 102mph) was challenged but Serena was so sure that she went to her seat for the changeover. She had the set six games to three.

Makarova held her serve in second set opener and Serena leveled at love. Leading 15-0 in the third game, the Russian hit a double fault but a long rally ended in her favour, with a backhand down the line. A powerful service return gave Serena break point but it was deuced when a Serena backhand shot landed in the net.

Makarova took the game with a slice serve beyond Serena’s reach. In the fourth game, Serena shot up 30-0 but netted a low backhand. She took the next two points to level two games apiece.

In the fifth game, a volley winner gave Serena 15-0; then 30-love and 40-0. Then off a second service return, Makarova hit a backhand h deep and Serena had the break to lead 3-2.

Serving to extend the lead, the champion delivered her ninth ace (114mph), followed by a service winner, then another ace for 40-0. She missed a forehand to drop the first game point and also the second but at 40-30, she hit a powerful first serve and followed it with a drive that took Makarova off the court, forcing an error, for the game; 4-2. Serena changed rackets.

The lefty delivered an ace for opener but lost the next point to a net-rushing Serena. Although she made a double fault, she pushed Serena from side to side and was up 40-30. However, she missed a forehand attempt down the line to be deuced.

Serena got the first advantage point but Makarova took her service game. Serving to stretch the lead; Serena made her first point but double-faulted yet recovered to get game point and she took it with a strong second delivery that Makarova sent sailing deep.

Serving to stay in the match, Makarova fell behind 0-30; then pushed Serena all over the court before she netted a shot to give Serena three match points.

Serena lost the first with a forehand that landed beyond her opponent’s baseline. On the second match point, Serena’s service return pushed Makarova off the sideline, eliciting a short ball which Serena hit down the middle, behind a Makarova running across the baseline. The set and match ended 6-3.

All through the match, Serena was the very epitome of calmness. When she was told that the victory was her 98th victory in her history at the US Open, she asked “Really?”

In his match against Lukas Rosol of Czech Republic, ranked 81 in the world, Murray registered his characteristic hustling style from the very first point, although he lost it. He also lost the second with a volley winner by Rosol but delivered a service winner to level at 30-all before taking the game.

Rosol held serve to level 1 game apiece. Although Murray opened the third game with a double fault, he scampered all over the court retrieving balls and succeeded in taking game for a 2-1 lead.

Games went with serve until the sixth with Rosol serving. He fell behind 0-30 but hit an ace to reach 30-all. He got game point but Andy deuced. A net cord in favour of Rosol got him first ad but he lost it on a double fault. Then followed an exchange of advantage points until Murray got the third, which he clinched for the break to lead four games to two. He consolidated without dropping a point, sealing the game with an ace. That single break was sufficient to give him the set 6-3.

From that point on, it was downhill for the Czech. Murray broke his serve in the very first game and held for a 2-0 lead.

Serving in the third game, Rosol was up 30-15 but made three consecutive double-faults to lose the game. Murray promptly held for a 4-0 lead. Lukas won the fifth game on his serve and Murray stretched the lead to 5-1. The remaining games went with serve and the second set was Murray’s 6-2.

The third set started with Lukas serving and he held without dropping a point. So did Murray.

In the fifth game, Murray lost a break point at 30-40 and banged his racket on court at the missed opportunity. He eventually took the game and held serve to lead 4-2. Rosol lost his serve to hand Murray the seventh game.

Serving for set, Murray lost the first two points. A service return error reduced tally to 15-30 and a volley winner leveled at 30-all. Murray took the next point to reach match point, which he sealed with an ace. After the match, he commented that he served well, and faced no break point all through the match. He said that after he got the first service break, he was able to relax and play well.

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