Flustered Serena crashes out as Djokovic enters quarter-finals

NEW YORK: An out-of-gas Serena Williams crashed out of the Western & Southern Open on Tuesday, losing in three sets to 13th seeded Maria Sakkari at the Flushing Meadow in New York.

The 23-time Grand Slam winner finished with a whimper at the end of the two-hour, 17-minute match as Sakkari clinched a 5-7, 7-6 (7-5), 6-1 victory with a backhand down the line that a dejected Williams just watched without making an effort to move.

At other points in the match, Williams flung her racket into the spectator-less stands and rebuked the chair umpire for slapping her with a time violation.

Sakkari, of Greece, advances to the quarter-finals of the no-spectator event where she will face Johanna Konta who cruised past Vera Zvonareva in straight sets 6-4, 6-2.

The joint WTA and ATP tournament was moved from Cincinnati to New York where the same quarantine bubble will house the US Open starting on Aug 31.

On the men’s side, world No. 1 Novak Djokovic won his 20th straight match of 2020 with a hard-fought 6-2, 6-4 victory over Tennys Sandgren.

Djokovic, who captured the Australian Open in February, needed six match points to tough out the straight sets victory and reach the quarter-finals of the hardcourt tournament.

Djokovic advances to the quarters where he will play German Jan-Lennard Struff, who defeated seventh seed David Goffin 6-4, 3-6, 6-4.

Djokovic had pulled out of doubles on Sunday with pain in his neck, but did not appear to be bothered by the injury against Sandgren.

Also on the men’s side, hard-serving Canadian Milos Raonic routed Brit Andy Murray 6-2, 6-2 and third seeded Daniil Medvedev, of Russia, swept past Aljaz Bedene 6-3, 6-3.

In other women’s action, fourth seeded Naomi Osaka rolled over Dayana Yastremska in straight sets 6-3, 6-1 to advance.

Osaka, who is the only top 10 player left in the women’s draw, clinched the victory when Yastremska was called for a foot fault while serving on match point.

Japan’s Osaka blasted eight aces, won 83 percent of her first serve points and broke Yastremska’s serve four times.

Osaka moves to the quarter-finals where she will face Anett Kontaveit, who defeated Marie Bouzkova 6-3, 6-3.

Yastremska, who at 20 was the youngest player left in the field, made six double faults and won just 38 percent of her second serves.

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