Williams powers on; Ivanovic out
A review of Thursday's women's singles action in the US Open, including a win for Serena Williams and defeat for Ana Ivanovic.
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Serena Williams won 10 games in a row to defeat countrywoman Vania King and reach the third round of the US Open.
The world number one, who is bidding to win a third straight title at Flushing Meadows, needed just 56 minutes to triumph 6-1 6-0.
Williams dropped only five points on serve in her first-round win over another American, Taylor Townsend, but struggled a little for rhythm on it in breezy conditions on Thursday.
However, she still did enough to not be broken and found King's serve much to her liking.
The 25-year-old managed to hold in the third game but that was as good as it got as Williams turned on the power when she needed it.
After disappointing performances in all the grand slams so far this season, the world number one has been focusing on not over-thinking matters here.
And she has been noticeably calmer in her two matches so far.
King had her chances in the second set but Williams shut the door every time, more than balancing out the errors with winners.
When King netted the final backhand on Williams' second match point, she was surely glad that the punishment was over.
Williams, who was wearing a shocking pink leopard-print dress, said: "It's so hard to play in the wind. I'm really happy to get through a solid match with the conditions today."
The 32-year-old next meets Varvara Lepchenko, her third successive American opponent.
Ana Ivanovic became the second top-10 player to crash out as she fell to Czech Karolina Pliskova.
After fourth seed Agnieszka Radwanska went down early on Wednesday, it was Ivanovic's turn to suffer the early shock.
The eighth seed went into the tournament with high hopes of marking her best season since she won the French Open in 2008 with a good run in New York.
But she found world number 42 Pliskova in fine form and succumbed to a 7-5 6-4 defeat, with the 22-year-old reaching the third round at a grand slam for the first time in her career.
For all her success this year, winning three titles, deep runs at slams have continued to elude Ivanovic.
The honourable exception was the Australian Open, where she defeated Serena Williams to reach the quarter-finals, but she then went on to lose in the third round at both the French Open and Wimbledon.
Victoria Azarenka looked much sharper than in her first-round match, winning 12 of the last 14 games in a 6-3 6-2 victory over America's Christina McHale.
Azarenka, the beaten finalist at Flushing Meadows the last two years, has had a nightmare season with injury and is seeded only 16th this time.
She needed three sets to battle past Misaki Doi in round one and lost the first three games to McHale before recovering in impressive fashion.
Eleventh seed Flavia Pennetta, a semi-finalist last year, made smooth progress with a 6-4 6-3 victory over America's Shelby Rogers.
The fairytale is over for 15-year-old American Cici Bellis after she was beaten in the second round by Zarina Diyas of Kazakhstan.
The Californian teenager was the name on everyone's lips at Flushing Meadows after her stunning upset of Australian Open finalist Dominika Cibulkova on Tuesday.
Some fans had taken their seats on Court 17 first thing on Thursday morning in anticipation but it was not until after 8pm that Bellis and Diyas had their moment.
Diyas, who is only 20 herself, has risen more than 100 places in the rankings this year, reaching the fourth round at Wimbledon.
She handled a difficult situation well, with every error cheered and every point for her opponent greeted with an explosion of noise.
Bellis, who won her place in the draw by virtue of becoming the US under-18 champion, gave as good as she got and it will be a surprise if she is not playing regularly on this type of stage very soon.
But in the end it was Diyas who was steadier in the deciding set, the Kazakh recovering from being bagelled in the second to win 6-3 0-6 6-2.
Bellis, who will stay in New York to play the junior tournament, said: "This whole experience has been unbelievable, mind-blowing. It's been crazy. It's been the best couple of days of my life.
"(I've heard) people saying that I'm going to be the future of American tennis. That's what I've wanted to be since I was a little kid. I think that definitely makes me want to work really hard and try to become that.
"What surprised me is that I could really stay with these pros. And I think today if I had played a little bit better, it would have been a different result."
Seventh seed Eugenie Bouchard was given a real battle by Romania's Sorana Cirstea in the final match of the night but survived to reach round three.
Cirstea is a former top-30 player who has fallen to 80th in the rankings but she showed the talent she has in a first-round rout of Britain's Heather Watson.
And Cirstea took that form into the clash with Bouchard, her forehand frequently pushing the ultra-aggressive Canadian onto the back foot.
But Bouchard is made of seriously tough stuff and every time Cirstea pegged her back, she edged ahead again.
The Romanian saved a match point at 3-5 in the final set but Bouchard was not to be denied, eventually clinching a 6-2 6-7 (4/7) 6-4 victory.
Her reaction showed what a tough test it had been, and the Canadian said: "I definitely had to battle in the third (set). She was getting really solid in the second. I just believed in myself and told myself to keep fighting."
The 20-year-old has a remarkable streak to maintain, having reached at least the semi-finals at every grand slam this season.