NEW YORK — Only a few spots separate them in the seedings. Still, the considerable gulf between No. 1 Serena Williams and No. 4 Sara Errani was hard to ignore in their back-to-back matches Thursday.
Williams, seeking her 17th Grand Slam title and second straight at the U.S. Open, brushed off an ungainly slide onto her backside en route to a typically easy second-round victory, 6-3, 6-0 over Galina Voskoboeva in half-full Arthur Ashe Stadium.
Barely worth talking about by Williams’ standards: “I’ll have to think about it and see what I can do better, but it was OK,” she said.
Only an hour before on the same court, a much different scene: Errani imploded in a 6-3, 6-1 loss to her Italian teammate, 83rd-ranked Flavia Pennetta. Then, with tears welling in her eyes, Errani conceded that she’s struggling to handle her high ranking and its high expectations.
“My problem isn’t that I lost. I’ve lost a million times in my life,” Errani said. “For a few weeks, I haven’t felt like I wanted to be on the court. That’s the problem.”
Among the results from Thursday’s full Day 4 slate:
• No. 2 Rafael Nadal improved to 17-0 on hard courts this season with a 6-2, 6-1, 6-0 win over qualifier Rogerio Dutra Silva.
• No. 4 seed David Ferrer overcame an error-filled second-set tiebreaker to top Roberto Bautista Agut, 6-3, 6-7 (5), 6-1, 6-2.
• Second-seeded Victoria Azarenka defeated Aleksandra Wozniak of Canada 6-3, 6-1.
Williams got through her win unscathed, and when she was done, five-time champion Roger Federer, the seventh seed, dispatched Carlos Berloq, 6-3, 6-2, 6-1 in 1 hour, 35 minutes.
“It’s one of those matches I expect myself to win if possible in straight sets and gain confidence in the process,” Federer said. “All those things happened, so, yeah, I’m pleased about it.”
American Christina McHale won in three sets over Elina Svitolina, while another U.S. player, 81st-ranked Allison Riske, had an easier time in a 6-4, 6-2 win over Mona Barthel. Victoria Duval, the 296th-ranked, 17-year-old American who earned her first Grand Slam match win Tuesday, couldn’t keep the magic going. She fell 6-2, 6-3, to 30-year-old Daniela Hantuchova.
The top U.S. man, No. 13 John Isner, held on to beat the 39th-ranked Gael Monfils, 7-5, 6-2, 4-6, 7-6 (4), to reach the third round for the fifth consecutive year.. He was the last seeded American in the men’s draw after No. 26 Sam Querrey lost in four sets to Adrian Mannarino. Another U.S. man, 20-year-old Jack Sock, moved to the third round with a 7-6 (3), 1-6, 7-5, 6-2 win over Maximo Gonzalez of Argentina.