Third seed Venus Williams stepped up her bid for her third U.S. Open title with a convincing 6-4 6-2 win over fellow American Bethanie Mattek-Sands on Wednesday.
Williams was on the brink of defeat against her first round opponent Vera Dushevina of Russia, but cut out the unforced errors in her second match at Flushing Meadows. But there was disappointment for former world number one Amelie Mauresmo of France as she bowed out of the hardcourt grand slam. The 17th seed was brushed aside 6-4 6-0 by Aleksandra Wozniak of Canada in their second round match. There were no such problems for dangerous outsider Flavia Pennetta of Italy as the improving 10th seed whitewashed Sania Mirza of India 6-0 6-0. Williams, who was playing with a heavily-taped left leg, showed few signs of the injury which troubled her against Dushevina, and gained an early break against the 124th-ranked opponent.
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Mattek-Sands broke back but Williams duly gained a second break and served out the first set in 48 minutes. The writing was on the wall for Mattek-Sands as she quickly fell a break down in second set and she could never get back on level terms against the heavy service of the nine-time grand slam winner.
A second break sealed her fate and despite facing three break back points in the final game, Williams served out for victory in one hour 31 minutes. Her sister Serena, the second seed and pre-tournament favorite, was in action in a night match later on Wednesday.