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So far in his first Grand Slam title defense, Murray needed to beat players who are ranked 47th, 49th, 65th and 81st. He's well aware things probably will get a tad tougher the rest of the way at the U.S. Open.
Stephens beat a hobbling Williams in the quarterfinals of the Australian Open in January. But in the rematch Sunday, the 16-time Grand Slam champion served big and controlled points against the 20-year-old.
Murray needed a set to find his rhythm against 47th-ranked Florian Mayer, then rolled the rest of the way to a 7-6 (2), 6-2, 6-2 victory in the third round of the U.S. Open.
Defending champion Andy Murray could face top-seeded Novak Djokovic only in the U.S. Open semifinals, while Nadal and Federer — who have never played each other at Flushing Meadows — might meet in the quarterfinals.
No. 94-ranked Sock played pretty well himself Tuesday, beating No. 59-ranked Igor Sijsling 6-4, 6-2 in the first round of the Citi Open. That victory over Sijsling — the second-highest-ranked opponent Sock has ever beaten - sets up a second-round matchup with No. 2-seeded Kei Nishikori.
Serena Williams had a tough win over the woman she's predicting will one day top the rankings, setting up a semifinal match at the Brisbane International against current No. 1 Victoria Azarenka.
Top-seeded Maria Sharapova was knocked out of Wimbledon on Monday, losing 6-4, 6-3 to Sabine Lisicki in the fourth round just a month after completing a career Grand Slam.