Sharapova, young Americans advance at Open

Christina McHale On Win Over Bartoli
Christina McHale beats Marion Bartoli

Christina McHale On Win Over Bartoli

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NEW YORK — Maria Sharapova had nowhere near as tough a time with her second-round match in the U.S. Open as she did with her first.

The third-seeded Russian beat Anastasia Yakimova 6-1, 6-1 on Wednesday night in 70 minutes — a far cry from the more than 2 hours she needed in a three-set win over Heather Watson in her opener two days before.

After a bit of a slow start, Sharapova turned it into a mismatch. She had 28 winners to two for her opponent. She won 59 points to 32 for Yakimova and saved all five break points against her.

Overall, she left the court with a much better feeling than last time.

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“The next match is certainly not the final,” she said. “We’re in the third round. There are many more to go. It only gets tougher from here. But that’s what’s so special about being a winner at the end of the tournament. You have to play every match. It’s a road. Hopefully, I’ll get to that stage.”

In search of her fourth major title, Sharapova will play No. 26 Flavia Pennetta in the third round.

American teen Christina McHale reached the third round of a Grand Slam tournament for the first time, upsetting eight-seeded Marion Bartoli in straight sets.

American Irina Falconi also reached the third round by following up her first win at a Grand Slam tournament with a second, upsetting 14th-seeded Dominika Cibulkova.

McHale won 7-6 (2), 6-2. She’s ranked a career-high 55th and beat No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki in Cincinnati this month.

The 19-year-old from Englewood Cliffs, N.J., clinched the victory in style, winning the final point on an ace. The youngest woman in the top 100, McHale was playing in her eighth major tournament.

At the French Open this year, she was up 5-0 in the third set but let it slip away and was beaten 6-7 (4), 6-2, 9-7 by Sara Errani. McHale didn’t lose any leads this time.

Bartoli, a 26-year-old Frenchwoman, was a semifinalist at Roland Garros this year.

Falconi ended the three-set victory with one of the best shots of the first week, running down the ball behind the umpire’s chair to somehow angle it across the net for a winner. Falconi won 2-6, 6-3, 7-5 at Arthur Ashe Stadium, a last-minute location change after Venus Williams withdrew, opening up a slot on center court.

The 21-year-old Falconi, ranked 79th, had never won a match in four Grand Slam appearances before her three-set win over 45th-ranked Klara Zakopalova on Monday. Falconi had been 0-3 against top 20 players.

Cibulkova, from Slovakia, was a semifinalist at the 2009 French Open.

“I think there’s a lot of American players — young American players — right now that are all kind of pushing each other. So I think it’s exciting,” said McHale. “We all push each other to want to do better.”

Second-seeded Russian Vera Zvonareva needed three sets to reach the third round, beating 69th-ranked Kateryna Bondarenko of Ukraine 7-5, 3-6, 6-3. Last year’s runner-up at Flushing Meadows and Wimbledon, Zvonareva had to make the third round here to stay in the top five of the rankings.

“I wouldn’t say I’m pleased with the quality of tennis I showed, but I’m pleased the way I handled the match,” said Zvonareva, who overcame 46 unforced errors.

Bondarenko had won her last two matches against top five opponents. She reached the quarterfinals at the 2009 U.S. Open, her best Grand Slam result.

Zvonareva failed to make it past the fourth round in her last two major tournaments.

No. 12 seed Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland fell 6-3, 4-6, 6-3 to Germany’s Angelique Kerber to become the eighth seeded woman to bow out in three days at the U.S. Open.

Radwanska opened the tournament with a straight-set victory over her younger sister, Urszula.

American teen Madison Keys showed her youth late in her second career Grand Slam match, repeatedly blowing leads in a 3-6, 7-5, 6-4 loss to 27th-seeded Lucie Safarova.

In her debut Monday at a major tournament, Keys — a 16-year-old from Boca Raton, Fla. — became the youngest player since 2005 to win a match at Flushing Meadows. At 455th, she was the lowest-ranked woman in the field this year.

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“I must say, she’s a very good player for her age,” the 24-year-old Safarova said, adding that Keys is playing “for sure, top 50 level.”

Keys certainly opened the match that way, racing to a 5-0 lead en route to taking the opening set.

“I didn’t feel very well on court at the beginning and was making a lot of easy mistakes,” Safarova said. “She surprised me.”

Keys went up a break in the second set before letting that edge slip away. And in the third set, she twice broke Safarova, only to give that lead back in the following game.

By the end of the match, Keys had actually won more total points than Safarova, 106-100.

“A lot of ups and downs,” said Safarova, who equaled her best U.S. Open showing by getting to the third round.

In other results, ninth-seeded Samantha Stosur of Australia beat American Coco Vandeweghe 6-3, 6-4; No. 13 Peng Shuai of China defeated Tsvetana Pironkova of Bulgaria 6-2, 6-4; No. 19 Julia Goerges of Germany rolled past Spain’s Laura Pous Tio 6-3, 6-1; Russia’s Alla Kudryavtseva upset No. 20 Yanina Wickmayer of Belgium 6-1, 3-0 (ret.); 24th-seeded Nadia Petrova of Russia beat Polona Hercog of Slovenia 6-2, 6-4; 25th-seeded Russian Maria Kirilenko defeated countrywoman Vera Dushevina 6-1, 6-2; and No. 30 Anabel Medina Garrigues of Spain beat Laura Robson of Britain 6-2, 6-3.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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