Defending champ Serena Williams reaches quarter-finals

Mon Sep 1, 2014 7:24pm EDT
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By Larry Fine

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Serena Williams dealt with her grand slam frustrations this year by trying to appreciate the big picture, and a more relaxed top seed reaped the benefits with a straight-set win into the U.S. Open quarter-finals.

Williams is gunning for her third U.S. Open title in a row but for the moment she saw her 6-3 6-3 Monday victory over Kaia Kanepi as an important hurdle after failing to get past the fourth round in this year's other grand slams.

"I never thought it would be so exciting," the world number one told reporters with a big smile after her 65-minute victory over the Estonian.

"Yeah! It feels good."

So eager to get back to her accustomed presence late in a slam event, Williams celebrated prematurely in the second set when she jumped up and thrust her arms after 50th-ranked Kanepi netted a backhand on break point that made it 5-3 in her favor.

Top seeded Williams failed to serve out the match, but made amends by breaking Kanepi for the fourth time in the set to claim victory and advance to the last eight at Flushing Meadows.

"I finally made a quarter-final this year!" she shouted to the Arthur Ashe Stadium crowd with arms upraised. "Glad to do it in New York."

Williams moved ahead to a battle of 32-year-olds against Italian 11th seed Flavia Pennetta, a semi-finalist last year who advanced with a 7-5 6-2 win against 29th-seeded Australian Casey Dellacqua.   Continued...

Serena Williams of the U.S. celebrates a point against Kaia Kanepi of Estonia during their match at the 2014 U.S. Open tennis tournament in New York, September 1, 2014.    REUTERS/Ray Stubblebine