Tennis: Record-setting Serena Williams races into US Open fourth round

Serena Williams celebrates her victory over Johanna Larsson during their 2016 US Open women's singles match at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on Sept 3, 2016 in New York.
Serena Williams celebrates her victory over Johanna Larsson during their 2016 US Open women's singles match at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on Sept 3, 2016 in New York. PHOTO: AFP

NEW YORK (AFP) - Serena Williams sped past another milestone on Saturday as her 307th Grand slam match win took her past Martina Navratilova's record and into the fourth round of the US Open.

Williams dominated Sweden's Johanna Larsson 6-2, 6-1. Not only has she surpassed Navratilova for most Grand Slam wins by a woman, she equalled Roger Federer's mark for men.

"I was really excited to reach 307," Williams said. "It's something I didn't even know about until Wimbledon - it was like a new goal. That was pretty cool for me."

"Obviously I want to keep that number going higher," added Williams, who will get her chance when she takes on Kazakhstan's Yaroslava Shvedova for a quarter-final berth.

"And what better place to do it than here where it all started," said Williams, who claimed the first of her 22 Grand Slam singles titles at the 1999 US Open.

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.

World No. 2 Andy Murray, vying to become just the fourth man to reach all four Grand Slam finals in a calendar year, was made to look ordinary through two sets by Italian journeyman Paolo Lorenzi, but pulled himself together to win 7-6 (7-4), 5-7, 6-2, 6-3.

"I had to stop rushing," said Murray, who arrived at the year's final Grand Slam off victories at Wimbledon and the Rio Olympics and may have expected less from Lorenzi, the 34-year-old who only won a first ATP title in July.

"I was making a lot of unforced errors and (Lorenzi) is very solid, and doesn't give you cheap points," Murray said. "I was looking for those cheap points too often.

"When I slowed down, the unforced errors went down, and the winners went up."

Hungarian Timea Babos put a scare into Romanian fifth seed Simona Halep, surging back in the second set and taking a 3-1 lead in the third before falling 6-1, 2-6, 6-4.

"I don't know how I came back," Halep said. "I was fighting to the very end for every ball."

Halep, who fell in the semi-finals to eventual champion Flavia Pennetta last year, will play Spain's Carla Suarez Navarro for place in the quarter-finals.

Suarez celebrated her 28th birthday with a 6-4, 6-3 victory over Russian Elena Vesnina.

Men's eighth seed Dominic Thiem of Austria also enjoyed a birthday win, downing Pablo Carreno Busta of Spain 1-6, 6-4, 6-4, 7-5 on the day he turned 23.

Radwanska eased into the fourth round with a 6-2, 6-3 victory over France's Caroline Garcia.

The Pole will duel for her first quarter-final berth at Flushing Meadows against Ana Konjuh in a rematch of a Wimbledon second-round clash in which Radwanska saved three match points before finally dispatching the Croatian.

Men's sixth seed Kei Nishikori, the 2014 runner-up, beat France's Nicolas Mahut 4-6, 6-1, 6-2, 6-2 for a place in the last 16.

Women's sixth seed Venus Williams, whose seven Grand Slam titles include US Open crowns in 2000 and 2001, beat 26th-seeded Laura Siegemund 6-1, 6-2.