NEW YORK (AP) – South Florida’s Serena Williams cemented her status as the favorite at the U.S. Open, beating fourth-seeded Victoria Azarenka in straight sets in the third round.

The 13-time Grand Slam champion won 6-1, 7-6 (5) on Saturday. Azarenka pushed Williams for the first time this tournament, fighting off three match points on her serve, then staving off another to break back in the second set.

But the American was just a little bit better in the tiebreaker, and Williams could breathe a sigh of relief with Azarenka’s forehand landed wide on the final point.

Azarenka, a Wimbledon semifinalist, had the misfortune of drawing a third-round matchup against Williams, seeded 28th after she missed nearly a year because of a series of health problems.


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