September 4, 2012 in Sports

Oh, oh, Williams at her best

That was in singles; doubles streak ends
Howard Fendrich Associated Press

NEW YORK – It didn’t take long for Serena Williams to show her fourth-round opponent at the U.S. Open on Monday where things were headed.

“The first point of the whole match,” 82nd-ranked Andrea Hlavackova explained, “when I served, and she returned, like, a 100-mph forehand return, I was like, ‘OK, I know who I’m playing. You don’t have to prove it to me. I know.’ ”

Dominant from the moment she ripped that return of an 88 mph second serve, forcing Hlavackova into an out-of-control backhand that sailed well long, to the moment she powered a 116-mph service winner on the last point, Williams extended her 2 1/2-month stretch of excellence with a 6-0, 6-0 victory to get to the quarterfinals.

It was the fifth 0-0 win of Williams’s career. She also won 60 of 89 points, built a 31-9 edge in winners and improved to 23-1 since losing in the first round of the French Open. That run includes singles and doubles titles at both Wimbledon and the London Olympics.

Hlavackova knows this act all too well: She and Lucie Hradecka were the doubles runners-up at both of those events.

Williams’ doubles dominance came to an end later Monday, however. She and sister Venus were knocked out in the third round by the fourth-seeded Russian pair of Maria Kirilenko and Nadia Petrova, 6-1, 6-4.

The sisters were seeking their 14th Grand Slam doubles title.

“Singles is completely different,” said Hlavackova, who chose the phrase “What can you do”? more than once when analyzing what it’s like to face 14-time major champion Williams.

Next for the fourth-seeded Williams is former No. 1 Ana Ivanovic, who beat Tsvetana Pironkova of Bulgaria 6-0, 6-4.

No. 1 men’s seed Roger Federer got some unexpected rest when his fourth-round opponent, 23rd-seeded Mardy Fish of the U.S., withdrew hours before their match for precautionary reasons.

Fish, 30, missed about 2 1/2 months this season because of an accelerated heartbeat and had a medical procedure in May.

On the court in men’s action, No. 12 Marin Cilic of Croatia put together a 7-5, 6-4, 6-0 victory over 50th-ranked Martin Klizan of Slovakia.

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