Holder Serena cruises into U.S. Open quarters

Williams remains on course to defend her U.S. Open title after cruising through to the last eight in New York.
Defending champion Serena Williams cruised into the quarterfinals of the U.S. Open on Sunday with a crushing 6-2 6-0 win over Slovakian Daniela Hantuchova.

The second seed will now play either Vera Zvonareva of Russia or in-form Italian Flavia Pennetta for a place in the last four. It was a routine win for the tournament favorite — in stark contrast to the New York hopes of Russian trio Dinara Safina, Maria Sharapova and Elena Dementieva who have all crashed out of the tournament in the last couple of days. Williams, 27, broke serve in the sixth and eighth games of the first set and the second set was one-way traffic as the champion won 10 games in a row to march through in just 64 minutes. In four matches, Williams has yet to drop a set and has lost just 17 games.

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“I played well and stayed focussed,” she told reporters. “I traditionally play really well in fourth round matches so I want to to keep this level and stay focussed for my next match. “Everyone is playing so well and some of the seeds have been struggling all summer and you can’t underestimate anyone. Daniela is such a good player and I knew I had to be serious as she always gives me trouble,” she added. Williams took her grand slam record for the year to 22-1, her only loss being to Svetlana Kuznetsova in the French Open quarterfinals. She won both the Australian Open and Wimbledon crowns taking her career Grand Slam total to 11. Meanwhile, 18th seed Li Na defeated Francesca Schiavone of Italy 6-2 6-3 to also reach the last eight for the first time.