Azarenka and Ferrer march on


Tennis: The top guns at the US Open encountered little resistance once again at the US Open as Victoria Azarenka and David Ferrer cruised to straight-sets victories at upset-free Flushing Meadows today.

Day three of the year's final grand slam tournament was similar to the first two, with upsets as scarce as a wood racquet at the National Tennis Centre.

World number one Azarenka overpowered Belgian qualifier Kirsten Flipkens 6-2 6-2 in 65 minutes in blustery Arthur Ashe Stadium, while on the men's side, fourth-seeded Ferrer stopped erratic South African Kevin Anderson 6-4 6-2 7-6.

"It was another good performance today," said Azarenka, who routed Russian Alexandra Panova 6-0 6-1 in her first-round match. "It was a little bit difficult with the wind today, to adjust. It was blowing a lot from one side. You kind of had to adjust every time you changed sides. When the wind is behind you had to be more patient, sometimes more aggressive, more spin."

Flipkens tried to mix the pace of her shots in hopes of getting Azarenka off stride.

"I wanted to come to the net but if you're against the wind it's not that easy," she said. "I was trying to get her out of the rhythm with my slice and a few topspin forehands. But if you're number one in the world you should be able to play every shot. She's a fighter. She's goes for every shot."

In her third-round match Azarenka, this year's Australian Open champion, will play 28th seed Zheng Jie of China, who defeated Slovakian qualifier Magdalena Rybarikova 6-3 6-1.

Slated to play later Wednesday were Olympic gold medallist Andy Murray and 2009 US Open winner Juan Martin del Potro on the men's side, and former Open champions Maria Sharapova, Kim Clijsters and Samantha Stosur from the women's draw.

Anderson, ranked 35th in the world, fired 30 winners at Ferrer but launched 31 unforced errors to lose the first-round match in two hours, 16 minutes in Louis Armstrong Stadium.

Anderson won 24 of 38 points at the net against Ferrer but lacked the consistency to beat the Spaniard, who beat Rafa Nadal en route to a semi-final appearance in the 2007 US Open.

"I feel good," Ferrer said. "It was not an easy match. He's a really strong player. He has a very strong first and second serve. I'm happy because I played good in my first round."

Hard-serving American John Isner, perhaps the best hope at giving the home crowd a chance to cheer into the second week on the men's side, defeated Belgian Xavier Malisse 6-3 7-6 5-7 7-6.

Czech Petra Kvitova, the fifth seed, had 29 unforced errors and only 21 winners but managed to subdue France's Alize Cornet 6-4 6-3 to set up a third-round match against Pauline Parmentier of France.

Thirty-one-year-old wildcard Lleyton Hewitt, the 2001 champion at Flushing Meadows, needed nearly three hours to defeat Germany's Tobias Kamke 4-6 6-2 6-1 6-4 on Court 13.

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