Serena crushes Hantuchova in quick time

There was about as much chance of Serena Williams following Dinara Safina and Maria Sharapova out of the US Open here yesterday as there was of the American conceding that she should not be regarded as the world's best player. Daniela Hantuchova has reached one Grand Slam semi-final and three quarter-finals, but the 26-year-old Slovak offered minimal resistance as Williams powered into the quarter-finals with a 6-2, 6-0 win in just 64 minutes.

The first four games suggested that the defending champion might be tested, but from 2-2 Williams took complete control. Having closed out the first set with two aggressive backhand returns, she was even more dominant in the second, pounding backhands and forehands into the corners of the court. By the end of the match Hantuchova had won only 33 of the 92 points and struck just nine winners compared with Williams' 27.

"Daniela is such a good player that I knew coming into this match that I had to be serious because she always gives me trouble," Williams said afterwards. "I just wanted to try to do my best. I tried to relax. Sometimes I'm such a perfectionist that I put too much stress on myself."

Whether or not she carries on winning, Williams will still be No 2 in next week's updated world rankings list. Safina will keep her place at the top of the charts despite having been so badly out of tune here. The Russian, playing far too cautiously, produced her third error-ridden performance in succession on Saturday night. This time she could not find a way out of her crisis, losing 6-4, 2-6, 7-6 to the Czech teenager, Petra Kvitova, the world No 72, despite having three match points.

The match was scheduled to be the first of the evening session in Arthur Ashe Stadium but was moved to the smaller Louis Armstrong court because of the late-running afternoon session. Safina was not impressed. "I'm the No 1 player in the world, why did they move me?" she said. "This is not an excuse, but I don't think it's a fair decision."

It was the first time this year that Safina failed to reach the semi-finals or final of a Grand Slam tournament. With all the controversy over her place at the top of the world rankings, which she has earned through the sheer consistency of her performances, there was almost a sense of relief in her voice after the match. "I go on the court wanting to win so much and I put so much tension in it," she said. "I'm really looking forward to the off season."

The top half of the women's draw is now wide open. Sharapova had been looking good but was beaten on Saturday by Melanie Oudin, who has quickly become the darling of the New York crowd. The 17-year-old from Marietta, Georgia, followed up her defeat of Elena Dementieva, the Olympic champion, by beating Sharapova 3-6, 6-4, 7-5. She now faces a fourth Russian in succession in Nadia Petrova, the world No 13.

News
election 2015The 10 best quotes of the campaign
News
A caravan being used as a polling station in Ford near Salisbury, during the 2010 election
election 2015The Independent's guide to get you through polling day
News
people
Voices
David Blunkett joins the Labour candidate for Redcar Anna Turley on a campaigning visit last month
voicesWhat I learnt from my years in government, by the former Home Secretary David Blunkett
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

General Election 2015: ‘We will not sit down with Nicola Sturgeon’, says Ed Balls

'We will not sit down with Nicola Sturgeon'

In an exclusive interview, Ed Balls says he won't negotiate his first Budget with SNP MPs - even if Labour need their votes to secure its passage
VE Day 70th anniversary: How ordinary Britons celebrated the end of war in Europe

How ordinary Britons celebrated VE Day

Our perception of VE Day usually involves crowds of giddy Britons casting off the shackles of war with gay abandon. The truth was more nuanced
They came in with William Caxton's printing press, but typefaces still matter in the digital age

Typefaces still matter in the digital age

A new typeface once took years to create, now thousands are available at the click of a drop-down menu. So why do most of us still rely on the old classics, asks Meg Carter?
Discovery of 'missing link' between the two main life-forms on Earth could explain evolution of animals, say scientists

'Missing link' between Earth's two life-forms found

New microbial species tells us something about our dark past, say scientists
The Pan Am Experience is a 'flight' back to the 1970s that never takes off - at least, not literally

Pan Am Experience: A 'flight' back to the 70s

Tim Walker checks in and checks out a four-hour journey with a difference
Humans aren't alone in indulging in politics - it's everywhere in the animal world

Humans aren't alone in indulging in politics

Voting, mutual back-scratching, coups and charismatic leaders - it's everywhere in the animal world
Crisp sales are in decline - but this tasty trivia might tempt back the turncoats

Crisp sales are in decline

As a nation we're filling up on popcorn and pitta chips and forsaking their potato-based predecessors
Ronald McDonald the muse? Why Banksy, Ron English and Keith Coventry are lovin' Maccy D's

Ronald McDonald the muse

A new wave of artists is taking inspiration from the fast food chain
13 best picnic blankets

13 best picnic blankets

Dine al fresco without the grass stains and damp bottoms with something from our pick of picnic rugs
Barcelona 3 Bayern Munich 0 player ratings: Lionel Messi scores twice - but does he score highest in our ratings?

Barcelona vs Bayern Munich player ratings

Lionel Messi scores twice - but does he score highest in our ratings?
Martin Guptill: Explosive New Zealand batsman who sets the range for Kiwis' big guns

Explosive batsman who sets the range for Kiwis' big guns

Martin Guptill has smashed early runs for Derbyshire and tells Richard Edwards to expect more from the 'freakish' Brendon McCullum and his buoyant team during their tour of England
General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

On the margins

From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

Why patients must rely less on doctors

Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'