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Dress-stressed Venus wins; Murray undone

Venus Williams put in only 48 percent of her first serves against  Shahar Peer but righted her game to reach the quarterfinals.

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Venus Williams put in only 48 percent of her first serves against Shahar Peer but righted her game to reach the quarterfinals.

NEW YORK — Venus Williams picked at her dress and struggled for a bit Sunday, but at least she advanced at the U.S. Open.

Andy Murray, expected by many to become the first British men's player to win a Grand Slam since 1936, was ousted in the third round and can expect to have his game picked apart yet again.

On a day in which Kim Clijsters and Rafael Nadal cruised in their victories, women's No. 3 seed Williams never looked comfortable in hers. She had some issues with her serve but still defeated the 16th-seeded Shahar Peer 7-6 (7-3), 6-3 on another windy day.

Williams got only 48 percent of her first serves in. She faced six break points and lost three. She squandered five chances to wrap up the first set in a 22-point 12th game. As for the dress — a red version of the black, sequined number she wore two nights previously — well, she spent much of the match tugging at it to keep it at barely high-thigh level.

"No," she said when asked if the dress bothered her. "The only thing that bothered me was when I didn't win the point."

Serving smart and handling Williams' power, Peer was game, even though she fell to 0-6 lifetime in the matchup and has yet to win a set. Trailing 6-5 and serving to stay in the first set, Peer staved off five set points before finally winning. But Williams overpowered her in the tiebreaker.

Williams' next match is a quarterfinal against No. 6 Francesca Schiavone, who had few problems in a 6-3, 6-0 win over 20th-seeded Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova. Second-seeded Clijsters put a quick end to Ana Ivanovic's run, winning her 18th straight U.S. Open match with a 6-2, 6-1 wipeout of the former world No. 1.

Meanwhile, the fourth-seeded Murray made his second straight earlier-than-expected exit from Flushing Meadows — losing 6-7 (7-3), 7-6 (7-4), 6-3, 6-3 to No. 25 Stanislas Wawrinka — a loss that is certain to be picked apart by fans back home.

"I have no idea of whether I'll win a Grand Slam or not," Murray said. "I want to. But if I never win one, then what? If I give 100 percent, try my best, physically work as hard as I can, practice as much as I can, then that's all I can do."

Murray was a popular pick this year, based on trips to the finals here two years ago and this year's Australian Open, along with a title in Montreal last month in which he beat Nadal and Roger Federer.

Instead, the loss to Wawrinka goes with a fourth-round exit last year when, as the No. 2 seed, he was upset by Marin Cilic.

The promise of a deep run this year for Murray, 23, slipped away quickly in the second set. Wawrinka, 25, was down a break in the second set before rallying.

"He played better than me," Murray said. "There's not a whole lot more to it."

Nadal, the men's top seed, faced one break point, and saved it, in a 6-4, 6-4, 6-2 victory over Gilles Simon. Nadal has gone 46-for-46 in service games at this event.

"Today was a solid match, I think," Nadal said. "The serve is still good, so that's a very important thing. From the baseline, I think my movements and my shots start to improve."

Simon, whose wife gave birth to their first child Thursday, said, "The third set, I have to say that I was already in the plane."

American John Isner hit 33 aces but had 61 unforced errors in a 6-4, 6-7 (7-9), 7-6 (7-5), 6-4 loss to No. 12 Mikhail Youzhny.

fast facts

Top results

Men: No. 1 Rafael Nadal def. Gilles Simon 6-4, 6-4, 6-2; No. 25 Stanislas Wawrinka def. No. 4 Andy Murray 6-7 (3-7), 7-6 (7-4), 6-3, 6-3; No. 8 Fernando Verdasco def. David Nalbandian 6-2, 3-6, 6-3, 6-2; No. 10 David Ferrer def. Daniel Gimeno-Traver 7-6 (7-2), 6-2, 6-2; No. 12 Mikhail Youzhny def. No. 18 John Isner 6-4, 6-7 (7-9), 7-6 (7-5), 6-4.

Women: No. 2 Kim Clijsters def. Ana Ivanovic 6-2, 6-1; No. 6 Francesca Schiavone def. No. 20 Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 6-3, 6-0; No. 3 Venus Williams def. No. 16 Shahar Peer 7-6 (7-3), 6-3.

Today on TV: 11 a.m., Ch. 10;

7 p.m., ESPN2

Dress-stressed Venus wins; Murray undone 09/05/10 [Last modified: Monday, September 6, 2010 12:15am]
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