Steady Kerber advances to third round

Wed Aug 31, 2016 7:47pm EDT
 
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By Larry Fine

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Second seed Angelique Kerber stayed on track in her quest to unseat Serena Williams as world number one by beating Mirjana Lucic-Baroni of Croatia 6-2 7-6(7) on Wednesday to reach the third round of the U.S. Open.

Australian Open winner Kerber rifled home an ace to finish the first set against the free swinging, 34-year-old Lucic-Baroni, then won a see-saw second set in which each player was broken three times on the way to a tiebreaker.

The Croat held two set points during the decider, and three overall, before losing it 9-7.

The left-handed German was one match win away in Cincinnati from ending Williams' long reign as number one before losing to Czech Karolina Pliskova in the final and has another chance to leapfrog the American at Flushing Meadows.

Lucic-Baroni raised her game in the second set, but could not overcome the steady Kerber as the big-hitting Croat blasted 37 winners while gifting the German with 55 unforced errors.

"I played very well in the first set," said Kerber, who also reached the Wimbledon final where she lost to Williams. "I moved good, I played good. I played my game.

"In the second set, I was 4-1 up. It was still good for me, but I think she was playing better and she was going for it. Then she was not making too many mistakes like in the first set."

Kerber had to battle to avoid the uncertainty and labors of a third set.   Continued...

 
Aug 31, 2016; New York, NY, USA; Angelique Kerber of Germany returns a shot to Mirjana Lucic-Baroni of Croatia on day three of the 2016 U.S. Open tennis tournament at USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. Mandatory Credit: Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports