(September 3, 2012) – Three-time US Open and fourteen-time Grand Slam champion Serena Williams is in top form heading into the quarterfinal round. You only need to look at the lopsided scoreline of her round of 16 match with Andrea Hlavackova to recognize that fact.
Williams' 6-0, 6-0 drubbing of one of the Cinderella stories (Hlavackova had never even qualified for the US Open in five previous attempts) of week one at the US Open reinforces what has already been hashed and rehashed as the prominent theme in women's tennis this summer: When she's on, nobody can touch Serena.
The 30-year-old's downright despicable drubbing of the 26-year-old Czech will no doubt inspire belief in an already confident Williams, while at the same time striking fear into the heart of her quarterfinal opponent Ana Ivanovic.
“I didn't even know, so yay,” said Serena upon learning that the 12th-seeded Serb would be her next opponent. “I'm excited.”
Williams, who is seeking her first US Open title since 2008, owns a 3-0 lifetime record against Ivanovic.
In her eighteenth appearance since winning the 2008 French Open title, Ivanovic has finally returned to the last eight of a Grand Slam event. Today's 6-0, 6-4 victory over Bulgaria's Tsvetana Pironkova came as a bit of a surprise, considering that Ivanovic lost her only hard court match of the summer 6-0, 6-0 to Roberta Vinci in Montreal before pulling out of Cincinnati with a foot injury.
But Ivanovic has moved easily through the draw this year, taking advantage of the fact that she has yet to face a seeded opponent in four matches. Her biggest test came in the third round when she had to go the distance to defeat the upset-minded American Sloane Stephens.
Williams, meanwhile, has passed another milestone en route to her tenth quarterfinal appearance in New York. She tied Linsday Davenport for sixth place on the all-time US Open wins list with 62, good for one better than her sister Venus.
“I think I played really well today,” said Williams, in a post-match interview with Mary Joe Fernandez. “I knew that she [Hlavackova] could be really dangerous for me.”
It's been that type of summer for Williams, who won her fifth Wimbledon this summer then backed it up with gold medal performances in both singles and doubles at the Olympic Games in London. Players appear dangerous on paper, but on the court, Serena quickly puts them in their place.
Ivanovic may have lacked the air of invincibility, but she was pretty convincing too.
Ivanovic hit 13 winners and converted on all three of her break points in a one-sided 6-0 first set. In the second set, after Pironkova sought treatment for a sore neck, things were much dicier. "She's a tough opponent though and I knew she was going to come back and fight hard, so the second set was tough to come through," Ivanovic said.
Ivanovic hit another 15 winners in a wild second set the featured seven breaks of serve. The 24-year-old former No. 1, who connected on all seven of her break point opportunities, failed to close the match while serving at 5-3, but easily broke the Bulgarian in the next game to finish the one hour and eleven-minute affair.
|(File Photo: Serena Williams plays Ekaterina Makarova in the third round of the 2012 US Open; Credit: Andy Kentla)