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August 30, 2013

Nadal rolls in straight sets

NEW YORK — Rafael Nadal made quick work of his second-round opponent Thursday night at the U.S. Open, taking the final 12 games in his 6-2, 6-1, 6-0 victory over qualifier Rogerio Dutra Silva.

Second-seeded Nadal improved to 17-0 on hard courts this year. He has lost 11 games in his first two matches at Flushing Meadows.

Dutra Silva made it into the main draw by winning a third-set tiebreaker in his final qualifying match. He saved seven match points and took a 12-10 fifth-set tiebreaker in the first round against Vasek Pospisil.

The Brazilian fought Nadal for a brief time and even had a break point in the second game of the second set.

But Nadal saved the break point, then closed out the first of the dozen straight games he won to close the match.

Only a few spots separate them in the seedings. Still, the considerable gulf between No. 1 Serena Williams and No. 4 Sara Errani was hard to ignore in their back-to-back matches Thursday at the U.S. Open.

Williams, seeking her 17th Grand Slam title and second straight at Flushing Meadows, brushed off an ungainly slide onto her backside en route to a typically easy second-round victory, 6-3, 6-0 over Galina Voskoboeva in half-full Arthur Ashe Stadium.

Barely worth talking about by Williams’ standards: “I’ll have to think about it and see what I can do better, but it was OK,” she said.

Only an hour before on the same court, a much different scene: Errani imploded in a 6-3, 6-1 loss to her Italian teammate, 83rd-ranked Flavia Pennetta. Then, with tears welling in her eyes, Errani conceded that she’s struggling to handle her high ranking and the high expectations that have come with that.

“My problem isn’t that I lost. I’ve lost a million times in my life,” Errani said. “My problem is trying to find the desire to fight and be on the court ready to fight. For a few weeks, I haven’t felt like I wanted to be on the court. That’s the problem.”

That concession was the most unexpected development on Day 4 of the U.S. Open, where the tournament got back on track after a rainy Wednesday that postponed eight women’s matches.

Also Thursday:

— No. 4 seed David Ferrer overcame an error-filled second-set tiebreaker to top Roberto Bautista Agut 6-3, 6-7 (5), 6-1, 6-2.

—Second-seeded Victoria Azarenka defeated Aleksandra Wozniak of Canada 6-3, 6-1.

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