NEW YORK — Only a few spots separate them in the seedings. Still, the considerable gulf between No. 1 Serena Williams and No. 4 Sara Errani was hard to ignore in their back-to-back matches Thursday at the U.S. Open.
Williams, seeking her 17th Grand Slam title and second straight at Flushing Meadows, brushed off an ungainly slide onto her backside en route to a typically easy second-round victory, 6-3, 6-0 over Galina Voskoboeva of Kazakhstan in half-full Arthur Ashe Stadium.
Barely worth talking about by Williams’ standards: “I’ll have to think about it and see what I can do better, but it was OK,” she said.
Only an hour before on the same court, a much different scene: Errani imploded in a 6-3, 6-1 loss to her Italian teammate, 83rd-ranked Flavia Pennetta. Then, with tears welling in her eyes, Errani conceded that she’s struggling to handle her high ranking and the high expectations that have come with that.
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“My problem isn’t that I lost. I’ve lost a million times in my life,” Errani said. “My problem is trying to find the desire to fight and be on the court ready to fight. For a few weeks, I haven’t felt like I wanted to be on the court. That’s the problem.”
That concession was the most unexpected development on Day 4 of the U.S. Open, where the tournament got back on track after a rainy Wednesday.
• No. 2 Rafael Nadal of Spain improved to 17-0 on hard courts this season with a 6-2, 6-1, 6-0 victory over qualifier Rogerio Dutra Silva of Brazil.
• No. 4 seed David Ferrer of Spain overcame an error-filled second-set tiebreaker to top compatriot Roberto Bautista Agut 6-3, 6-7 (5-7), 6-1, 6-2.
• Second-seeded Victoria Azarenka of Belarus defeated Aleksandra Wozniak of Canada 6-3, 6-1.
• Sixth-seeded Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark beat Chanelle Scheepers of South Africa 6-1, 6-2 to open the night session.
• Williams got through her win unscathed, and when she was done in Ashe Stadium, five-time champion Roger Federer of Switzerland, the seventh seed, dispatched Carlos Berloq of Argentina 6-3, 6-2, 6-1 in 1 hour, 35 minutes.
• American Christina McHale won a three-setter over Elina Svitolina of Ukraine, while another U.S. player, 81st-ranked Allison Riske, had an easier time in a 6-4, 6-2 victory over Mona Barthel of Germany.
• But Victoria Duval, the 296th-ranked, 17-year-old American who earned her first victory in a Grand Slam tournament Tuesday, couldn’t keep the magic going. She fell 6-2, 6-3, to 30-year-old Daniela Hantuchova of Slovakia.
• The top U.S. man, No. 13 John Isner, held on to beat Gael Monfils of France 7-5, 6-2, 4-6, 7-6 (7-4) to reach the third round. No. 26 Sam Querrey lost 7-6 (7-4), 7-6 (7-5), 6-7 (5-7), 6-4 to Adrian Mannarino of France. Jack Sock beat Maximo Gonzalez of Argentina 7-6 (7-3), 1-6, 7-5, 6-2.