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Williams gains revenge on Stephens

ESPN staff
September 1, 2013 « Live County Championship coverage | Chartbeat test »
Despite not being at her best, Serena Williams was comfortable in her victory over Sloane Stephens © Getty Images
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Top seed Serena Williams has avenged her January Australian Open loss to Sloane Stephens by defeating her fellow American 6-4 6-1 to reach the US Open quarter-final.

World No. 1 Williams, who is defending champion at Flushing Meadows, took one hour and 27 minutes to dispatch Stephens on Arthur Ashe court.

Williams found the breakthrough early on with a powerful return, but Stephens broke back to level at 4-4 in the first set as the four-time champion struggled with her serve.

However, another unforced error from Stephens gifted Williams the first set, before the tournament favourite rattled through the second to seal victory.

"She's definitely a good player, so it felt like something bigger, but I just had to stay focused for the moment," Williams said. "The whole time I just tried to do what I wanted. Stay calm, stay relaxed, stay composed."

Following Stephens' win at Melbourne Park earlier in 2013, the pair suffered a well-documented fallout. However, both have been quick to state the healthy nature of their relationship and Stephens was quick to issue praise on her opponent's performance.

"Obviously, she's number one in the world for a reason," Stephens said. "I thought she played really well herself. Obviously, it didn't go how I wanted. The second set got away from me a little bit. All in all, I thought I competed well and played well. That's all you can do really."

Williams now faces 18th seed Carla Suarez Navarro, who needed two hours 41 minutes to edge eighth-seed Angelique Kerber 4-6 6-3 7-6 (3).

No. 3 seed Agnieszka Radwanska lost 6-4, 6-4 to No. 24 Ekaterina Makarova, the fourth time since 2007 that Radwanska left Flushing Meadows in the fourth round. Makarova had lost all three previous matches she'd played against Radwanska in straight sets. The Russian's victory Sunday allowed her to reach her third grand slam quarter-final and first at the US Open.

Next for Makarova is a match against fifth-seeded Li Na of China, who eliminated 2008 US Open runner-up Jelena Jankovic 6-3, 6-0 in under an hour.

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