US Open talking points - Halep blame's it on the AC

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Serena sets benchmark: Will she win her seventh US Open?

Serena Williams powered to a record 307th Grand Slam match win on Saturday to reach the fourth round of the US Open.

Williams moved ahead of Martina Navratilova for most match wins in the majors by a woman, and tied Roger Federer’s mark for men with a 6-2, 6-1 pasting of Sweden’s Johanna Larsson.

The American superstar, seeking a record seventh US Open title, next faces Kazakhstan’s Yaroslava Shvedova, a 6-2, 7-5 winner over China’s Zhang Shuai.

“That’s pretty awesome,” Williams said of surpassing Navratilova. “And what better place to do than here where it all started.”

Williams claimed the first of her 22 Grand Slam singles titles at the US Open in 1999. A 23rd major triumph would take her past the Open Era record she now shares with Steffi Graf and closer to Margaret Court’s all-time record of 24.

Although a right shoulder injury had left Williams looking vulnerable since her triumph at Wimbledon, she needed just an hour to subdue Larsson, the world number 47 who has never made it past the third round of a Grand slam and had lost in the first round of her six prior US Open appearances.

“It was a really good match for me, because she played a different kind of game,” Williams said. “It was really good for me to have a different type of rhythm and just move the ball around. So overall it was pretty good.”

MARTINA PRAISE FOR SERENA

“That’s pretty awesome (the record)…and what better place to do than here where it all started.”

WINS FOR BIRTHDAY BOY AND GIRL

Dominic Thiem, the eighth seed, celebrated his 23rd birthday with a four-set win over Pablo Carreno Busta.

Meanwhile, Spanish 11th seed Carla Suarez Navarro was 28 on Saturday and she marked the occasion by beating Elena Vesnina in straight sets.

HALEP’S BACK IS AIR TIGHT

“It’s the air conditioning — it blocked my back.” This was Simona Halep’s take on her back injury after seeing off Timea Babos in New York.

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WATCH Nadal hit amazing tweener shot

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Nadal battled past Andrey Kuznetsov to book a fourth round berth.

At 30 years of age, the Spaniard 14-time major winner showed he is still as agile as old as he raced towards the baseline to retrieve a tricky lob shot by the Russian and returned a flighted pick-up of his own, through his legs, i.e. the celebrated tweener move.

He momentarily lost grip on his racket but steadied himself to win the point deep into the third set in front of a delighted New York crowd.

WATCH IT HERE:

Nadal went on to reach the fourth round at Flushing Meadows for the first time since 2013 – the year of his last New York title – with a 6-1, 6-4, 6-2 win.

“Andrey is always a tough opponent, he returns well and has good shots from the baseline,” said fourth seed Nadal who faces France’s Lucas Pouille for a quarter-final slot.

“I had a fantastic first set, a little trouble with my serve in the second but the third was key so I’m very happy.”

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US Open Day six: Five predictions & matches to watch

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Share your predictions below.

Which matches are you most looking forward to seeing on day six and who do you think will progress to the last 16 from our picks?

Have your say and share with us your predictions by commenting below, using #360fans on Twitter or getting in touch via Facebook.

JUAN MARTIN DEL POTRO (ARG) vs DAVID FERRER (ESPx11)

DEL POTRO vs FERRER

  • 142 - WORLD RANKING - 13
  • 3 - HEAD TO HEAD - 6
  • 0 - 2016 TITLES - 0
  • 20-9 - 2016 WIN-LOSS - 28-17

Once perennial top 10 players, Del Potro’s injury issues are well documented while Ferrer has been on the slide all year. How much the Spaniard’s five-setter against Fabio Fognini has taken it out of him could prove decisive.

SPORT360 VERDICT: Del Potro in five sets.

DAN EVANS (GBR) vs STAN WAWRINKA (SUIx3)

Evans was calm and collected in his upset win over Zverev while Wawrinka has been a class act throughout. The British baseliner will offer plenty of resistance to the world No3 but needs to mix his game up to have a chance.

SPORT360 VERDICT: Wawrinka in straight sets.

KEI NISHIKORI (JPNx6) vs NICOLAS MAHUT (FRA)

WAWRINKA (SUI) vs GIANNESSI (ITA)

  • 7 - WORLD RANKING - 42
  • 0 - HEAD TO HEAD - 0
  • 1 - 2016 TITLES - 1
  • 48-14 2016 WIN-LOSS - 20-15

A nice clash of styles with the slight and technical Nishikori against the French scrapper with the powerful serve. The US Open just seems to suit Nishikori and he has been very efficient in his shot selection so far in New York.

SPORT360 VERDICT: Nishikori in straight sets.

TIMEA BABOS (HUNx31) vs SIMONA HALEP (ROUx5)

The often-streaky Halep is in a fantastic run of form with 23 wins in her last 26 matches and did well to overcome the taller Safarova on Thursday. At 5ft 10ins, Babos is the same height and will look to force the issue.

SPORT360 VERDICT: Halep in three.

AGNIESZKA RADWANSKA (POLx4) vs CAROLINE GARCIA (FRAx25)

RADWANSKA (POLx4) vs GARCIA (FRAx25)

  • 4 - WORLD RANKING - 33
  • 3 - HEAD TO HEAD - 1
  • 2 - 2016 TITLES - 2
  • 38-13 2016 WIN-LOSS 28-19

Victory will see Radwanska equal her best ever showing at the US Open having never made it past the fourth round. In her way is Garcia, who she holds a superior record over and who’s needed three sets in each round so far.

SPORT360 VERDICT: Radwanska in straight sets.

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