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Serena Williams drops Makarova, advances with Radwanska

Serena made it a win-win affair for the Williamses as she dropped Makarova in routine fashion, 6-3, 6-3; just as Radwanska dismissed Pegula 6-1, 6-1

Serena Williams made it a win-win affair for the Williamses as she dropped Ekaterina Makarova in routine fashion, 6-3, 6-3.

For Oracene Price, it was a long afternoon in Arthur Ashe Stadium followed by a pleasant early evening. 

Her two daughters, Venus and Serena Williams, played back to back in Arthur Ashe Stadium, with Venus closing out the day session and Serena opening the night.

And what different matches they were. 

Venus, expected to cruise, struggled mightily, needing to call on her two decades of US Open experience to gut through a three-set victory over Kateryna Kozlova in a tilt that extended nearly three hours. 

Serena, meantime, showed little effect from her recent shoulder injury and handled a difficult opponent with aplomb.

She dispatched 2014 US Open semifinalist Ekaterina Makarova in routine fashion, 6-3, 6-3.

RADWANSKA OVERPOWERS QUALIFIER PEGULA

American qualifier Jessica Pegula, ranked No. 138 in the world, says her best tennis memory is qualifying for the 2015 US Open. 

She duplicated that effort this year.

But No. 4 Agnieszka Radwanska made their first-round encounter one that the 22-year-old American may rather forget in a 6-1, 6-1 route on Tuesday in Louis Armstrong Stadium.

Radwanska, a 2012 Wimbledon finalist and former world No. 2, is best known for her defense. 

However, Pegula’s inconsistency allowed the 27-year-old Pole to dictate play and pinpoint unexpected angles with crafty slices. 

Nearly all the net cords even went Radwanska’s way.

Facing the first Top 10 opponent of her career, Pegula got on the scoreboard by holding serve to 1-5 at the 18-minute mark. 

In the second set, the New York native held to 1-4 before Radwanska raced to victory.

In the 55-minute match, Radwanska committed just four unforced errors (to 34 for Pegula) and swatted away the single break point against her.

Radwanska, who has four fourth-round appearances on her US Open resume, was asked in her on-court interview what it will take for her to get to the next level. 

She is a two-time semifinalist at the Australian Open and a Roland Garros quarterfinalist.

“This is another year to try,” she said. “I just hope I can do it one day. Let’s pray it’s this year.”

Radwanska won two of her 19 career singles titles this season, most recently powering her way to the trophy at New Haven without losing a set. 

She is one of three players, along with No. 2 Angelique Kerber and No. 3 Garbiñe Muguruza, who have a chance to wrestle the top ranking from Serena Williams at this tournament.

Either way, should Radwanska claim the championship, she will receive a $1 million bonus on top of the $3.5 million winner’s purse – the biggest payout in tennis history – as winner of the Emirates Airline US Open Series Bonus Challenge. 

In addition to defeating Elina Svitolina for the New Haven title, she reached the quarterfinals at Cincinnati and the fourth round at Montreal.

Pegula, who plays a mix of WTA and ITF events, has competed in qualifying at all the Grand Slam tournaments. 

Earlier this summer, she celebrated the best win of her career over No. 14 Samantha Stosur at Washington, D.C., where she reached the semifinals. 

She missed a year and a half, between 2013 and 2015, with a right knee injury.

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