Defending U.S. Open women's champion Serena Williams is into the quarterfinals at Flushing Meadows after putting on a tennis clinic against 15th-seeded American Sloane Stephens in the round of 16 on Sunday inside Arthur Ashe Stadium.
Williams was nearly flawless in a dominant straight-sets win, 6-4, 6-1, per U.S. Open on Twitter:
Williams, who will take on Carla Suarez Navarro in the next round later this week, is now 2-1 against Stephens in 2013 and 64-4 overall on the year.
It originally appeared as if Sunday's much-anticipated matchup of top-ranked Americans would go the distance, based on how the first few games unfolded.
The first set was a back-and-forth battle as Williams broke Stephens early, only to be broken right back moments later. But the defending champion demonstrated tremendous resolve, breaking Stephens for a second time in the set's final game to close out the opening frame 6-4.
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Williams had several chances to run away with it, but she didn't let her missed opportunities get her down. Serena remained persistent, closing out the game and set on her eighth break point.
Stephens' serve was largely ineffective in the first set, as the 20-year-old was able to win just 51 percent of her total service points despite putting 65 percent of her first serves in play.
Stephens would come out strong in the opening game of the second set, looking to break Williams in order to pick up an early advantage. But Williams utilized the best serve in women's tennis at deuce, and then finished off Stephens one point later to go up 1-0 in the second set.
A couple of games later, leading 2-1, Williams earned the first break of the second set to take a mighty 3-1 advantage, per U.S. Open on Twitter:
After holding serve, the four-time U.S. Open champion led 4-1, pushing Stephens to the brink.
Determined not to collapse the way she did at the Australian Open back in January, Williams remained focused over the final two games, closing out the set and the match to put Stephens in her rear-view mirror.
Stephens was 0-of-6 on second-serve points in the final set, and she finished the match with 29 total unforced errors to just 13 total for Williams.
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