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Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 24 June 2018

US Open: Venus Williams sails into fourth round

Wimbledon 2017 champion Garbine Muguruza also cantered into the fourth round, defeating Magdalena Rybarikova on Friday

Venus Williams sailed through to the fourth round of the US Open. Seth Wenig/ AP Photo
Venus Williams sailed through to the fourth round of the US Open. Seth Wenig/ AP Photo

Venus Williams continued her US Open campaign when the American beat Greek Maria Sakkari 6-3 6-4 on Friday to advance to the fourth round.

Roared on by the Arthur Ashe Stadium crowd, Williams, who won two titles at Flushing Meadows in 2000 and 2001, overcame serve problems to set up a meeting with gritty Spaniard Carla Suarez Navarro.

She has now reached the last 16 in every grand slam this year, a feat she last achieved in 2010.

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The 37-year-old managed the only break in the opening set to take control of the match.

After a couple of exchanges of breaks in the second, Williams stole her opponent's serve again to close it out on the first match point when Sakkari's forehand sailed long.

"I'm playing at home, I've got a lot to accomplish here, and I'm happy to get the win," she said, before adding she was expecting a similar game style from Suarez Navarro as Sakkari.

"She's feisty. I know I have to come out, play well, have you all (the crowd) behind me and get a win."

Garbine Muguruza also cantered into the fourth round with a 6-1 6-1 demolition of Slovakian Magdalena Rybarikova on Friday to set up an exciting clash with Petra Kvitova.

The Spanish third seed, who claimed her second grand slam at Wimbledon this year, barely broke sweat on Louis Armstrong Stadium against the 31st seed.

Muguruza, one of the pre-tournament favourites, dropped serve once, the only glitch in a neat display.

Meanwhile, former champion Marin Cilic had a golden chance to reach the US Open final three years after lifting the trophy at Flushing Meadows, but the Croatian fifth seed blew it when he lost 4-6 7-5 7-5 6-4 against Argentine counter-puncher Diego Schwartzman in the third round on Friday.

Cilic, the highest seed in a clear bottom half of the draw, eventually paid the price for his lack of match practice after skipping the US Open warm-up tournaments in Montreal and Cincinnati due to injury.

He hit 80 unforced errors in an untidy display on Grandstand, where he also served nine double faults.