Defending champions Andy Murray, Serena Williams coast at U.S. Open

Serena Williams' serve worked against Sloane Stephens and she moved into the quarterfinals in New York.

Story highlights

  • Andy Murray beats Germany's Florian Mayer to reach the fourth round at the U.S. Open
  • Murray didn't face a break point and hit more than 40 winners as he advanced in straight sets
  • Tomas Berdych moved a step closer to meeting Murray after thumping Julien Benneteau
  • Serena Williams crushes Sloane Stephens after Stephens upset the world No. 1 in Melbourne

Andy Murray became the first member of the so-called Big Four in men's tennis to flinch at the U.S. Open. He lost a set to Argentina's Leonardo Mayer on Friday.

But the defending men's champion in New York had an easier time in sweltering conditions Sunday, dispatching German Florian Mayer 7-6 6-2 6-2 to move into the fourth round.

Women's defending champion Serena Williams progressed, too, defeating Sloane Stephens 6-4 6-1 in a rematch of their thriller at the Australian Open.

Even though Murray's serve wasn't fully firing, he didn't get broken and struck 42 winners -- double his unforced error count.

It was especially impressive given Mayer's ability to throw off opponents with his change of pace and quirky forehand.

Mayer, ranked as high as 18th and now the world No. 47, needed to claim the opening set to have a chance of upsetting the Scot.

Once Murray took it in a tiebreak, and convincingly, Mayer's shoulders slumped and he proceeded to win four games the rest of the way.

Murray was happy he didn't have to spend too long on court -- under two hours -- in the draining conditions.

Secret to beating tennis' big four
Secret to beating tennis' big four


    Secret to beating tennis' big four


Secret to beating tennis' big four 05:40
Andy Murray's historic Wimbledon win
Andy Murray's historic Wimbledon win


    Andy Murray's historic Wimbledon win


Andy Murray's historic Wimbledon win 03:48
Andy Murray 'held his grit'
Andy Murray 'held his grit'


    Andy Murray 'held his grit'


Andy Murray 'held his grit' 00:42

"It cooled down a little bit towards the end but the first and second sets it was very hot," he said in an interview on court afterwards.

"It was very tough conditions and he's a very tricky opponent," Murray continued. "He plays strange shots and he takes your time away. It's tough to get into a rhythm.

"I'm really glad to come through in three sets."

Murray's next foe is Uzbekistan's Denis Istomin, who topped steady Italian Andreas Seppi in five sets.

Looking further ahead, Murray could meet the dangerous Tomas Berdych in the quarterfinals and the Czech had an even easier time than Murray on Sunday.

Berdych conceded a mere five games to Frenchman Julien Benneteau.

The 31-year-old Williams, bidding to become the oldest U.S. Open women's winner in the Open era, captured eight of the last nine games to see off Stephens and book a spot in the quarterfinals.

Stephens sent Williams packing in the quarterfinals at the Australian Open, although the latter was injured in the match, and some regard the 20-year-old as the future of American tennis.

The pair were friends, fell out when Stephens criticized Williams but are now back on good terms.

Williams next plays Spaniard Carla Suarez Navarro, who upset Germany's Angelique Kerber in a third-set tiebreak.


    • Rafael Nadal of Spain watches the ball in his match against Martin Klizan of Slovakia during during day seven of the China Open at the National Tennis Center on October 3, 2014 in Beijing, China.

      What does 2015 hold for Rafa?

      Rafael Nadal's body might be giving him a few problems, but his mind remains as strong as ever. Will the Spaniard add to his haul of 14 grand slam titles?
    • LONDON, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 17: Wimbledon champion Andy Murray and his long time girlfriend Kim Sears arrive at Buckingham Palace on October 17, in London, England. Murray will become an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) and receive his medal from the Duke of Cambridge. (Photo by John Stillwell - WPA Pool/Getty Images)

      Love game: Andy Murray to tie knot

      The Scot has served up a few changes to his support team in 2014 but there's one person who isn't going anywhere -- his new fiancée Kim Sears.
    • Despite being forced to retire at the age of 24 due to health problems, Lacoste remained in the game and went on start the "Lacoste" brand in 1933, which specialised in tennis products. The inspiration for the company's logo came from his nickname as a player, "le crocodile."

      'Crocodile' who broke all the rules

      His distinctive crocodile logo is seen on clothing all over the world, but Rene Lacoste also left a lasting legacy in the development of tennis.
    • Serena Williams of the US holds the US Open trophy after defeating Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark during their US Open 2014 women's singles finals match at the USTA Billie Jean King National Center September 7, 2014 in New York. AFP PHOTO/Stan HONDA (Photo credit should read STAN HONDA/AFP/Getty Images)

      Serena savors U.S. Open win

      Serena Williams is without peer in the modern women's game and now she is on a par with two American tennis legends from the past.
    • American tennis player and golfer Althea Gibson (right) receives a kiss from compatriot Darlene Hard, whom she beat in two sets to become the first black woman to win the Women's Singles Finals at Wimbledon.

      The amazing life of Althea Gibson

      Over the course of her remarkable life, Althea Gibson was many things to many people -- but it was tennis where she really left her mark.
    • Courting couple at match point

      "I didn't cry once when I practiced in front of the mirror," says Martin Emmrich. But the nerves kicked in when he got down on one knee on court.
    • LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - JULY 03: Tennis / Frauen: Wimbledon 2004, London; Finale; Siegerin Maria SHARAPOVA / RUS 03.07.04. (Photo by Bongarts/Bongarts/Getty Images)

      'Baby' Sharapova's big moment

      It's 10 years since a teenage Maria Sharapova became the darling of Wimbledon's hallowed Center Court, launching herself as a star.
    • 'Swiss Miss' follows mom's lead

      Five-time grand slam champion Martina Hingis has followed her mom into a coaching role, setting up a new tennis academy in Barcelona, Spain.