Serena storms on, Federer sorry for Fish

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NEW YORK, August 4 – Three-time champion Serena Williams stormed to a double bagel 6-0, 6-0 rout of Czech Andrea Hlavackova to reach her 10th US Open quarter-final on Monday in a ruthless display of her title credentials.

The 30-year-old American allowed the world number 82 just eight points on her serve and finished the last-16 clash with 31 winners against just seven unforced errors, backing up her 57-minute win with eight aces.

Williams, a 14-time Grand Slam title winner, and the reigning Wimbledon and Olympic champion, has dropped just 12 games in four matches at the Open this year.

She hasn’t lost a game in her last three sets played while Monday’s mauling was the fifth time in her career she had handed out a double bagel.

Williams will on Wednesday face Ana Ivanovic for a place in the semi-finals after the Serb 12th seed defeated Bulgaria’s Tsvetana Pironkova 6-0, 6-4.

The other quarter-final will feature Italian compatriots, best friends and doubles partners Sara Errani and Roberta Vinci battling for a semi-final spot.

Errani, the 10th seed, defeated last year’s semi-finalist, German sixth seed Angelique Kerber 7-6 (7/5), 6-3, while Vinci saw off Polish second seed Agnieszka Radwanska 6-1, 6-4.

It will be the first time two Italian women have made the last eight at the same Grand Slam.

Tuesday’s first quarter-finals see top seed Victoria Azarenka facing defending champion Samantha Stosur while 2006 winner Maria Sharapova takes on France’s Marion Bartoli.

“Andrea played really well,” Williams insisted of her outclassed opponent, who departed the singles tournament $120,000 richer for making the fourth round of a Grand Slam for the first time.

“She never gave up. She’s such a great fighter. But I played really well today, I tried to stay relaxed and do what I do.”

Williams dismissed suggestions that the 2012 title was already a formality.

“I think my road has been a journey. I don’t think anything’s easy. I don’t think anything is easy,” she said.

“I never play a person and say, ‘Oh, that was an easy opponent.’ No, I have never done that. Everything takes some type of match and mental toughness.”

Williams has now reached a 34th quarter-final at a major.

Meanwhile, Roger Federer said he was sorry to see US Open last-16 opponent Mardy Fish withdraw from the tournament on health grounds, a decision which allowed the Swiss a walkover into the quarter-finals.

World number one Federer will face Czech sixth seed Tomas Berdych in what will be his 38th Grand Slam quarter-final.

“I am really sorry for Mardy. I just want to wish him a speedy recovery. We all want to see him back on tour soon,” said Federer.

On his quarter-final opponent, he added: “It will be a tough match against Tomas. We have played many times in the past and he has always been a tough opponent. I will have to continue to serve well and dictate the points.”

Fish, 30, missed two months of the season earlier this year because of a heart problem.

He was hospitalized after the Miami Masters in March when his heart rate increased to three times its normal resting rate.

The American then underwent a procedure called a cardiac catheter ablation in Los Angeles on May 23 to correct faulty wiring in his heart.

“I regret that I have to withdraw from the US Open for precautionary measures,” Fish said. “I was reluctant to do so, but am following medical advisement.

“I had a good summer and look forward to resuming my tournament schedule in the fall.”

Fish did not specify his reason for health concerns, but US doubles standout Mike Bryan said that Fish “didn’t look right” when he walked into the locker room.

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