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Defending champion Williams sails to third round

Serena Williams of the U.S. hits a return to Galina Voskoboeva of Kazakhstan at the U.S. Open tennis championships in New York August 29, 20
Serena Williams of the U.S. hits a return to Galina Voskoboeva of Kazakhstan at the U.S. Open tennis championships in New York August 29, 20

By Larry Fine

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Serena Williams took another emphatic step in defense of her U.S. Open title by crushing Galina Voskoboeva of Kazakhstan 6-3 6-0 on Thursday to reach the third round of the year's final grand slam.

The top-seeded American needed a short while to get accustomed to breezy conditions on Arthur Ashe Stadium court before winning 10 of the last 11 games in a 69-minute rout.

Williams, 31, has dropped just four games in four sets at Flushing Meadows this year, slamming the door on the 77th-ranked Voskoboeva by limiting her to nine points in the second set.

"I'm just trying to do the best I can, just always trying to get a little better," said Williams, who dismissed Italy's Francesca Schiavone 6-0 6-1 in her opening match.

Williams was not at her top form, guilty of 13 unforced errors including seven from her forehand side, and faced a busy day at the National Tennis Center with a doubles match alongside her sister, Venus, scheduled for later on Thursday.

Battling the gusting winds, Williams landed just 64 percent of her first serves, but took advantage of the weak second serve of Voskoboeva.

The 16-times grand slam singles winner was supposed to play her second-round match on Wednesday but rain forced a postponement. Williams said following her singles match with a doubles game was a positive.

"Definitely gives you more time to work on things you want to do in your next match," the younger Williams sister said. "That's kind of how I look at it, just as getting more time to be more ready."

Williams will be returning Friday to close the night program at Arthur Ashe against Voskoboeva's compatriot Yaroslava Shvedova, a 6-2 6-3 winner against Patricia Mayr-Achleitner of Austria.

The top seed said playing on successive days did not bother her.

"I usually play every day," she said.

"In regular tournaments I don't have a day off. Only in the grand slams I get the luxury of having a day off. I guess I didn't get that, (but) I'm definitely used to it."

(Reporting by Larry Fine; Editing by Frank Pingue)

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