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Serena into first slam quarter-final of the year

ESPN staff
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Serena Williams made light work of Kaia Kanepi © Getty Images
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Serena Williams reached her first grand slam quarter-final of the year with a 6-3 6-3 victory over Kaia Kanepi in the US Open on Monday, keeping her hopes alive for a third straight Flushing Meadows crown.

The top-seeded Williams, who lost in the fourth round of the Australian Open, the second round of the French Open and third round of Wimbledon, said she felt the pressure of getting to the last eight in New York.

"I finally made a quarter-final this year!" Williams said in her on-court interview, raising her hands to the cheers of the crowd in Arthur Ashe Stadium. "I think I felt it in my service game. I'm like, 'Can I please make it to a grand slam quarters this year?'"

That drive to do it this year was bad news for the 50th-ranked Kanepi. Williams won 12 straight points on her serve to start the match, a streak that included five of her eight aces.

Williams next plays 11th-seeded Flavia Pennetta, a 7-5 6-2 winner over 29th-seeded Casey Dellacqua.

Pennetta, who reached the semi-finals of the US Open last year, said she needed to do her best with the tools she has to have a chance against the world No.1, who already holds 17 grand slam titles.

"You cannot invent something. I mean, you just have to play your tennis," Pennetta said. "Of course, she's better than me, but if I still believe I can beat her, maybe if she doesn't have a good day, I can do that."

Unlike the men's side, which entered Monday with only one major upset, No. 4 David Ferrer, the women's draw has been decimated. Only Williams, No.7 Eugenie Bouchard and No.10 Caroline Wozniacki have survived among the top 10 seeds going into the tournament's second week.

But Bouchard lasted just one day, as she crashed out to 17th seed Ekaterina Makarova 7-6(2) 6-4.

Victoria Azarenka, the No.16 seed and US Open finalist loser to Williams the last two years, seeks a place in the quarter-finals with a night match against 145th-ranked qualifier Aleksandra Krunic.

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