NEW YORK, Aug 28 (Reuters) - World number one Serena Williams conquered the wind and another American challenger to take her place in the third round of the U.S. Open on Thursday.
Williams struggled with the gusty breezes that swept across Arthur Ashe Stadium court, committing three double faults in her opening service game against compatriot Vania King before settling in to administer a 6-1 6-0 thrashing.
The two-time defending champion took just 56 minutes to advance, and that included numerous serving starts and stops due to trouble with her tosses.
”It’s so hard to play in the wind,“ the top-seeded Williams said. ”I‘m very happy to get through a solid match with the conditions today.
“You have to be able to adjust.”
Williams, who beat 18-year-old compatriot Taylor Townsend in the opening round, will next play yet another American in Varvara Lepchenko, a 6-4 6-0 winner over Germany’s Mona Barthel.
A former world number one failed to survive the second round as error-prone eighth seed Ana Ivanovic of Serbia was ousted by 42nd ranked Karolina Pliskova of the Czech Republic 7-5 6-4.
Ivanovic, never looking comfortable against the punishing, flat groundstrokes and medley of serves launched by the 22-year-old Pliskova, committed 29 unforced errors and seven double faults.
“I really struggled to find my rhythm and made way too many unforced errors,” lamented the 26-year-old Serb. “It was just really a bad day.”
Tenth-seeded Kei Nishikori of Japan claimed a quick entry into the third round when Pablo Andujar of Spain retired, trailing 6-4 6-1, and 22nd seed Philipp Kohlschreiber of Germany had an even quicker result.
The German booked his spot in the third round when France’s Michael Llodra retired after dropping the first set 6-2, due to an ailing elbow.
Those retirements raised the number of withdrawals in the men’s draw to eight not yet halfway through the second round.
Big-hitting American Sam Querrey limited his time spent on court against a healthy Guillermo Garcia-Lopez with his racket, beating the 28th-seeded Spaniard 6-3 6-4 6-4.
“If I keep playing like I played today I will keep going in the right direction and hopefully get back up in the top 20,” said Querrey, who has slipped to 57th in the rankings.
Other women advancing included 11th seed Flavia Pennetta of Italy and 16th-seeded Victoria Azarenka of Belarus - both at the expense of American opponents.
Pennetta dismissed Shelby Rogers 6-4 6-3, while two-time Australian Open winner Azarenka roared back from a 3-love, 0-40 deficit at the start to beat Christina McHale 6-3 6-2. (Editing by Frank Pingue)