The seventh day of the U.S. Open saw both defending champions dominate in the early going, while Sunday night's action was capped off with a notable upset on the women's side to add to the drama.
No. 3 seed Andy Murray disposed of Florian Mayer—the Scot's second consecutive opponent with that surname—in straight sets after being pushed to a tiebreaker in the first set.
Meanwhile, the other third seed, Agnieszka Radwanska, saw her dreams at a maiden Grand Slam title dashed by Ekaterina Makarova.
Serena Williams avenged a loss at the Australian Open to Sloane Stephens, besting the rising young American star 6-4, 6-1. Williams' most formidable potential foe in the semifinals was Radwanska, so her path to a repeat is now more smoothly paved.
Read on to find out what else happened with some of tennis' big names at Flushing Meadows.
2013 U.S. Open Results—Day 7
|Novak Djokovic (1)||Joao Sousa||6-0, 6-2, 6-2|
|Andy Murray (3)||Florian Mayer||7-6 (2), 6-2, 6-2|
|Tomas Berdych (5)||Julien Benneteau (31)||6-0, 6-3, 6-2|
|Stanislas Wawrinka (9)||Marcos Baghdatis||6-3, 6-2, 6-7 (1), 7-6 (7)|
|Mikhail Youzhny (21)||Tommy Haas (12)||6-3, 6-2, 2-6, 6-3|
|Denis Istomin||Andreas Seppi (20)||6-3, 6-4, 2-6, 3-6, 6-1|
|Lleyton Hewitt||Evgeny Donskoy||6-3, 7-6 (5), 3-6, 6-1|
|Marcel Granollers||Tim Smyczek||6-4, 4-6, 0-6, 6-3, 7-5|
|Serena Williams (1)||Sloane Stephens (15)||6-4, 6-1|
|Ekaterina Makarova (24)||Agnieszka Radwanska (3)||6-4, 6-4|
|Li Na (5)||Jelena Jankovic (9)||6-3, 6-0|
|Carla Suarez Navarro (18)||Angelique Kerber (8)||4-6, 6-3, 7-6 (3)|
Top Seeds in Top Form
As hinted at before, Williams rolled over Stephens, who put up a good fight in the first set but ultimately lost it 6-4 due to 21 unforced errors compared to only nine winners.
The potential for Stephens to be the next big thing in women's tennis—particularly in the United States—is there. Unfortunately, her inconsistency and significant disadvantage in experience to her opponent shined through on Sunday.
Williams took control after holding her service game to start the second set despite being pushed to deuce. The world No. 1 then broke Stephens to take a 3-1 lead, effectively ending the match and getting Williams to the quarterfinals:
The two American stars embraced after the match (via Joe Fleming of USA Today):
Sloane and Serena, at the net (USAT photo) pic.twitter.com/2rJhL4Zcu4— Joe Fleming (@ByJoeFleming) September 1, 2013
At the top of the men's draw, Djokovic showed the form that allowed him to be seeded ahead of Rafael Nadal despite the Spaniard's two hard-court titles preceding this event.
The last set wasn't particularly sharp for the Serbinator, but he was bailed out by 11 unforced errors and only one winner by the outmatched Joao Sousa.
ESPN Stats & Info alluded to Djokovic's consistency in reaching the Round of 16 yet again:
Novak Djokovic: advances to 4th round in 18th consecutive Grand Slam— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) September 2, 2013
The other standout performer was Tomas Berdych, who beat Murray in Cincinnati before losing to Nadal in the semifinals. That effort has translated well to New York, as Berdych dismantled No. 31 Julien Benneteau 6-0, 6-3, 6-2.
Upsets and Unseeded Upstarts
The most notable player to fall was Radwanska, but it isn't necessarily surprising considering how strong Makarova has been in the 2013 Grand Slam tournaments.
After a gritty win in which there were eight total breaks of serve despite set scores of 6-4, 6-4, the 25-year-old Russian was praised by the tournament's official Twitter account for her performances on tennis' biggest stages:
Denis Istomin stunned No. 20 seed Andreas Seppi in a five-set slugfest featuring two players who were serving very well but were inconsistent from set to set.
After Istomin had won the first two sets, Seppi battled back and dominated the next two. Unfortunately, he failed to capitalize on all six break-point opportunities and lost the final set 6-1.
Ninth-seeded Stanislas Wawrinka barely edged out the fiery Marcos Baghdatis, who always makes things interesting with his competitiveness and on-court antics:
Baghdatis staved off multiple match points before finally succumbing in a fourth-set tiebreak.
2001 U.S. Open winner and former top-ranked player in the world, Lleyton Hewitt, continued an impressive run into the fourth round. Any fatigue after his recent five-set epic with Juan Martin del Potro didn't show, as the Aussie took out Evgeny Donskoy to advance.
Other relative surprises amongst the other seeded players included Carla Suarez Navarro defeating Angelique Kerber. Credit the lower-seeded Suarez Navarro for recovering from a first-set loss to outlast Kerber, ultimately winning the decisive tiebreaker 7-3.
Finally, 12th-seeded Tommy Haas—who has been finding the figurative fountain of youth at age 35—suffered a disappointing exit to No. 21 Mikhail Youzhny. Haas committed a whopping 58 unforced errors to just 31 winners and hit merely half of his first serves in play.
Statistics and information are courtesy of USOpen.org.