There were more than a handful of top stars in action at the 2013 U.S. Open on Thursday, and by all accounts, the favorites took care of business.
Both the men's and women's singles bracket were littered with stars who are expected to be in contention on through the finals at Flushing Meadows, and the action in New York did not disappoint.
As noted by the U.S. Open's Twitter account on Wednesday, the Day 4 schedule held nothing back:
Here's a breakdown of how a few of the aforementioned stars performed.
*For a complete look at the Day 4 results, visit USOpen.org.
Result: Defeated Aleksandra Wozniak (6-3, 6-1)
Last year's runner-up from the women's singles bracket has been on a war path over the last couple of weeks, taking down any and all opponents in her way.
Fresh off a win at the Western & Southern Open and a "double bagel" victory in the first round in which she did not concede a game to Dinah Pfizenmaier.
As noted by Live Tennis on Twitter, Azarenka was in complete command throughout the match:
Poised to return to the finals and take down every woman in her path, Azarenka looks unbeatable through her first two matches at Flushing Meadows.
That could change quickly, though, because Alize Cornet, Ana Ivanovic and Petra Kvitova—all seeded players—are in line to get a shot at Azarenka. Cornet has already punched her ticket for a clash with Azarenka; Ivanovic and Kvitova need to continue their winning ways.
Still, Azarenka is playing well and doing everything she can to prove that Williams isn't the only threat to the Open trophy.
Result: Defeated Rogerio Dutra Silva (6-2, 6-1, 6-0)
Nadal was downright scary on Thursday.
Getting better as the match wore on, he bested Dutra Silva in straight sets and looked ever so comfortable on the hard court doing so.
According to USOpen.org, Nadal won 81 percent of his first-serve points, 90 percent of his net points and was at an outstanding 57 percent in breaking his opponent. Though Dutra Silva got off to a strong start in the first two sets, Nadal quickly shut the door on any sort of upset the rest of the way.
As noted by tennis aficionado Nick McCarvel, Nadal is doing his best to prove that while hard-court matches aren't his forte, they certainly aren't a crutch, either:
The Spaniard isn't the favorite at the U.S. Open this year, but he does have a tournament trophy (2010) in his possession and looked to be in peak form on Thursday.
Federer, fellow Spaniard David Ferrer and America's best hope, John Isner, loom as potential opponents for Nadal the rest of the way.
Result: Defeated Galina Voskoboeva (6-3, 6-0)
ESPN's Chris McKendry didn't give Galina Voskoboeva much of a chance in this match:
Everything sided with the reigning U.S. Open women's champion in this one; she conceded three games in the first set but responded with a goose egg of her own in the second set to win rather handily to push another victory on McKendry's counter.
With a 72-percent first-serve winning percentage and five different break points won, Serena took care of business against a lesser opponent in Voskoboeva and did so without really breaking a sweat in the second set.
Since she is participating in the double's tournament with sister Venus, keeping early-round matches short to conserve energy is a wise strategy for one of the best women's tennis players of all time.
With Agnieszka Radwanska the biggest remaining threat in the top-half of her draw, Williams can take solace in the fact that she can continue to hone her game over the next couple of rounds.
If she gets by Yaroslava Shvedova in Round 3, an all-American match with either Sloane Stephens or Jamie Hampton awaits.
Result: Defeated Carlos Berlocq (6-3, 6-2, 6-1)
FedEx knocked a set off his opponent's total over the course of his win over Berlocq and had a number of impressive, vintage Federer shots in doing so.
The U.S. Open's Twitter account had one of those shots:
Not to be outdone, Berlocq also had a nice return shot against a man who is widely considered to be one of the greatest Grand Slam champions in tennis history.
While that short success was nice and allowed the challenger to pick up some much-needed momentum, it was extremely short-lived. Federer was outstanding at the net (28-of-40 net points won), won seven break points and managed to win the match despite 25 unforced errors.
It was a comfortable victory for the Swiss star, showcasing that as a No. 7 seed, he's just as dangerous as anyone given higher billing in the draw than he.
Federer's next opponent will be Adrian Mannarino.
While the upsets are what we live for, stars taking care of business is a drama-free way of helping the bracket hold true for a longer amount of time. That leads to big names facing fellow big names later on, and so on and so forth.
The top stars are bringing it right now in New York. With only one Grand Slam until the 2013 major championship season is a distant memory, it would be disappointing to see anything less.
*Scores and stats via USOpen.org.
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