- Associated Press - Monday, September 5, 2011

NEW YORK — Serena Williams fought off the wind, along with brief flurries of effectiveness from her opponent, to advance to the quarterfinals of the U.S. Open on Monday with a 6-3, 6-4 victory over Ana Ivanovic.

Williams closed out the match with four straight serves that Ivanovic couldn’t get back - clocked at between 99 and 111 mph in a blustery Arthur Ashe Stadium that had both players fighting with their tosses and topspin all day.

“I didn’t even go for winners at any point,” said Williams, who hit only 16. “I just tried to get it over because it was so windy. It was definitely tough.”

Seeded only 28th after missing big chunks of the last two years with injuries to her foot, Williams nonetheless improved to 16-0 this year on hardcourt. She has yet to drop a set at the U.S. Open and finds herself in her first Grand Slam quarterfinal since last year at Wimbledon, when she won her 13th major title.

France’s Jo-Wilfried Tsonga came back to eliminate Mardy Fish, the highest-seeded American, 6-4, 6-7 (7-5), 3-6, 6-4, 6-2 to reach the U.S. Open quarterfinals for the first time.

No. 8 Fish was trying to make it past the fourth round at Flushing Meadows for the second time. But his play dipped in the fourth set, and he was treated by a trainer for a right leg problem before the fifth.

The 11th-seeded Tsonga’s best Grand Slam showing was reaching the final of the 2008 Australian Open. He also made it to the Wimbledon semifinals this year by rallying to beat Roger Federer after dropping the first two sets.

The top player on the men’s side, Novak Djokovic, opened his third-round match with a thrilling 16-14 first-set tiebreaker win over No. 22 Alexandr Dolgopolov. Things got easier from there in a 7-6 (16-14), 6-4, 6-2 victory.

“This is one of the longest tiebreaks I ever played,” Djokovic said. “It was certainly exciting to be part of it. But, you know, I knew that I needed to win that set.”

In the women’s match, 16th-seeded Ivanovic, the 2008 French Open champion and a one-time world No. 1, came in on a rebound after a slide down the rankings into the 60s. At times against Williams, flashes of the old Ivanovic showed, especially when she drew back to 3-3 in the first set after dropping the first three games in eight minutes.

Taking the ball early, unafraid to step inside the baseline to return Williams‘ second serves, Ivanovic was the aggressor during that portion and in parts of the second set when she tried, unsuccessfully, to make up the break she lost in the first game.

But she couldn’t overcome eight double faults, including three while serving at 3-4 in the first set.

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