NEW YORK (AP) — The Latest on the U.S. Open tennis tournament (all times local):
Serena Williams has begun her bid to become the oldest woman to reach the fourth round of a Grand Slam tournament in the professional era.
It’s the third night match of the week for the 23-time Grand Slam champion, who is preparing to end her tennis career.
With a win over Australian Ajla Tomljanovic, Williams will keep it going until at least Sunday.
Williams will turn 41 later this month. Three women since 1968 were older when they reached the third round of a major, but none advanced.
Coco Gauff rolled through her match against fellow American Madison Keys, winning 6-2, 6-3 to reach the fourth round.
The No. 12 seed was broken to open the match, but broke right back against the 2017 U.S. Open runner-up in a lengthy second game en route to a 4-1 lead and was never really threatened.
The 18-year-old advanced to face China’s Zhang Shuai.
Martina Navratilova saw a clip of Serena Williams practicing before her second match and noticed her movement appeared to be improved.
The Hall of Famer immediately had one thought.
“I was like, ‘Ooh, Serena is back,’” Navratilova said. “So yeah, I think sky is the limit for her now. I wouldn’t put it past her to win the whole thing.”
Williams plays her third-round match Friday night against Ajla Tomljanovic.
Footwork is one of the areas Navratilova says can be improved through Sense Arena’s virtual reality tennis training program that launches next month. It allows players to do drills such as returning serve and volleying, while swinging a racket that gives a similar feel of a real one, without the chance of injury from repeatedly hitting balls or running on hard courts.
Sense Arena has a hockey program used by five NHL and nine NCAA Division teams. CEO Bob Tetiva said having mastered the swing technology used in hockey made it natural to add tennis. The company, based in the Czech Republic, added Navratilova to its tennis advisory board.
The 59-time Grand Slam champion said she “whiffed” with her first few swings, but quickly got good and saw the benefits of being able to practice indoors or with an injury that limits the ability to run.
“Tennis is a sport that it takes a long time to not be horrible so there’s really no shortcuts,” she said, “but this thing is a small shortcut, really.”
Matteo Berrettini ended Andy Murray’s bid to return to the fourth round of a major, beating the three-time Grand Slam champion 6-4, 6-4, 6-7 (1), 6-3.
Murray, who won his first major at the U.S. Open in 2012, hasn’t reached the round of 16 in one of tennis’ four biggest tournaments since Wimbledon in 2017, when he was ranked No. 1. He later required two hip surgeries that led to absences from the tour.
Berrettini, the No. 13 seed who was a U.S. Open semifinalist in 2019, will face Alejandro Davidovich Fokina on Sunday.
Ons Jabeur made sure there will be at least one top-five woman in the fourth round.
The No. 5 seed rallied to beat No. 31 Shelby Rogers 4-6, 6-4, 6-3, avoiding the type of upset that has filled the first week of play at the U.S. Open.
It’s the first trip to the final 16 in Flushing Meadows for the Wimbledon runner-up, who lost in the third round each of the last three years.
Top-ranked Iga Swiatek is the only other top-five player who got out of the second round. Serena Williams ousted No. 2 Anett Kontaveit, and No. 3 Maria Sakkari and No. 4 Paula Badosa also lost their second match.
Swiatek plays her third-round match Saturday.
Andy Murray leads off play in Arthur Ashe Stadium on Day 5 of the U.S. Open, trying to reach the fourth round of a Grand Slam for the first time in five years.
Serena Williams also has her eyes on a spot in the last 16 when she continues what could be her final tournament Friday night against Ajla Tomljanovic.
Murray was to face No. 13 Matteo Berrettini, with a victory sending the three-time Grand Slam champion into the fourth round for the first time since 2017 at Wimbledon. The 2012 U.S. Open winner will have to get by a past Grand Slam finalist in Berrettini, who also got to the semifinals in Flushing Meadows in 2019.
Americans Coco Gauff and Madison Keys were set to follow them with a third-round match.
Top-ranked Daniil Medvedev plays at night against Wu Yibing, who is trying to become the first Chinese man to reach the fourth round of a Grand Slam event since Kho Sin-Khie at Wimbledon in 1938.
More AP coverage of U.S. Open tennis: https://apnews.com/hub/us-open-tennis-championships and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports
Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.