Serena show rolls on while Fish bows out

Thu Sep 3, 2015 12:23am EDT
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By Steve Keating

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The Serena Williams show continued at the U.S. Open as the world number one moved a step closer to a calendar Grand Slam on Wednesday, while Mardy Fish took a final Flushing Meadows bow as the curtain came down on the American's career.

Defending men's champion Marin Cilic and two-time winner Rafa Nadal and world number one Novak Djokovic also eased into the third round with straight sets wins as the temperatures and stakes continue to rise at the year's final grand slam.

Bidding to become just the fourth woman to win all four slams in the same year, no one has more riding on the Flushing Meadows fortnight than Williams, who continued her quest with an error-strewn 7-6(5) 6-3 victory over Dutchwoman Kiki Bertens.

The 110th-ranked Bertens put up a valiant fight and had Williams, who struggled with her serve firing 10 double faults, on the ropes in the opening set.

However, the 33-year-old American's class shone through in the second set as she broke Bertens three-times to seal her 23rd consecutive U.S. Open victory.

"I never stop. I keep going and give the best effort that I can," Williams said after raising her 2015 match record to 50-2.

Williams was joined in the third round by sister Venus who outlasted Irina Falconi 6-3 6-7(2) 6-2 to set up an intriguing clash with Swiss teenager Belinda Bencic, one of only two players to beat Serena this season.

Born in 1997, the same year Venus made her U.S. Open debut, Bencic survived a second set meltdown that left her sobbing and a determined Misaki Doi of Japan to claim a nervy 5-7 7-6(3) 6-3 victory.   Continued...

Serena Williams of the United States reacts after winning the first set against Kiki Bertens of the Netherlands (not pictured) on day three of the 2015 U.S. Open tennis tournament at USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports