Sloane Stephens made quick work of Jamie Hampton in a battle of American women at the U.S. Open, where men’s defending champion Andy Murray ousted Leonardo Mayer to advance to the third round.
Juan Martin del Potro of Argentina, the 2009 champion and the No. 6 seed this year, lost in five sets to 2001 champion Lleyton Hewitt, 32, of Australia, who is unseeded this year. Hewitt won 6-4, 5-7, 3-6, 7-6 (7-2), 6-1.
Stephens, seeded 15th for the tennis season’s final Grand Slam tournament, needed just 63 minutes to beat 23rd-seeded Hampton 6-1, 6-3 in a third-round match in Arthur Ashe Stadium at the National Tennis Center in New York.
“It’s obviously tough playing Jamie, a good friend,” Stephens, a Fed Cup teammate of Hampton, said in a televised on-court interview after her win. “Definitely a tough match to come out here on Ashe in front of all you guys, but I tried to stay focused and do my best.”
Stephens could face top seed and defending champion Serena Williams for a spot in the quarterfinals. Williams, the four-time U.S. Open champion who’s also from the U.S., is due to play her second match in as many days, taking on Yaroslava Shvedova of Kazakhstan tonight.
Last month’s Wimbledon champion, Murray’s serve was broken once in his 7-5, 6-1, 3-6, 6-1 win against Mayer of Argentina. His 28 winners were 11 fewer than Mayer’s, but he had 26 unforced errors -- about half of Mayer’s 49.
“That was a very tough match, both of us ran a lot,” Murray said in a televised interview. “He’s a big hitter, I had to defend a lot.”
Top-seeded Novak Djokovic, playing an earlier match on the Ashe court, saved two set points with Benjamin Becker serving at 5-4 in the first set. He went on to defeat the 32-year-old from Germany who is ranked 87th on the ATP World Tour, 7-6 (7-2) 6-2, 6-2.
“It was a lot of unforced errors, very windy conditions,” Djokovic, 26, the 2011 U.S. Open champion from Serbia, told reporters after making 26 unforced errors in the match. “You couldn’t really read and kind of predict where the ball is going to go, so you have to be very alert. At the start I had difficulty with my footwork.”
Djokovic will play Joao Sousa of Portugal in the third round. Sousa, ranked 95th on the ATP World Tour, beat Jarko Nieminen of Finland 1-6, 6-3, 3-6, 6-3, 6-4.
With the women’s field in the third round today and the men’s draw completing the second, women’s No. 4 Sara Errani is the only player seeded in the top 10 of either side to have exited, falling to fellow Italian Flavia Pennetta yesterday.
Fifth-seeded Li Na of China today beat No. 32 seed Laura Robson of Britain 6-2, 7-5. Li, 31, had six aces in the match against the 19-year-old Robson, including one on a second serve to close out the 81-minute meeting.
Agnieszka Radwanska, the No. 3 seed from Poland, followed Li into the fourth round with a 6-4, 7-6 (7-1) win against 32nd-seeded Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova of Russia. Radwanksa limited her unforced errors to 15, compared to 41 by Pavlyuchenkova.
Radwanska next will face the No. 24 seed, Russia’s Ekaterina Makarova, who knocked off 16th-seeded Sabine Lisicki of Germany 6-4, 7-5. Lisicki was the runner-up at Wimbledon this year, falling to Marion Bartoli.
Jelena Jankovic, the No. 9 seed from Serbia, beat Japanese qualifier Kurumi Nara 6-4, 7-6 (7-5).
Rajeev Ram, a 29-year-old American, blew a two-set lead against Marcel Granollers of Spain, falling 3-6, 4-6, 6-2, 6-3, 7-5. American Denis Kudla played a close match against Tomas Berdych, the No. 5 seed from the Czech Republic, falling 7-6 (7-3), 7-6 (7-3), 6-3.
Tim Smyczek, a wild-card entry from the U.S., beat Russian Alex Bogomolov Jr. 3-6, 7-6 (8-6), 2-6, 6-4, 6-4. He’ll face Granollers in the third round, while 24-year-old American Donald Young lost to Florian Mayer of Germany 7-5, 6-3, 6-4.
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