Tennis newsThe Big Four at Cincinnati have moved into the third round and looked good against their rivals. Top seed Novak Djokovic defeated Frenchman Benoit Paire; no.2 seed Andy Murray defeated hard-court specialist and farewell man Mardy Fish and former world no.1 Rafael Nadal edged out Frenchman Jeremy Chardy. Roger Federer had already made it to the third round on Tuesday. In women’s draw, no.1 seed Serena Williams outlasted Bulgaria’s Tsvetana Pironkova, no.3 seed Romanian Simona Halep defeated Kristina Mladenovic of France and no.7 seed Lucie Safarova of the Czech Republic beat USA’s Coco Vandeweghe. But Wednesday was not a good day for other higher women’s seeds as Maria Sharapova pulled out of the tournament due to a nagging right leg injury and no.4 and no.5 seeds were eliminated. Czech Republic’s Petra Kvitova was beaten by Frenchwoman Caroline Garcia while Denmark’s no.5 seed Caroline Wozniacki was defeated by former world no.1 Victoria Azarenka of Belarus.

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Wimbledon champion and no.1 seed Novak Djokovic, who is attempting a historic career grand slam of all nine ATP 1000 Masters titles; was broken once by Frenchman Benoit Paire but the Serbian finally took the match 7-5, 6-2. Paire tried to fox the world no.1 with some trick-shots but couldn’t hold his own against Djokovic’s largely superior game. For a place in the quarterfinals, Djokovic will play against Belgium’s 13th seed David Goffin, who defeated Spain’s Fernando Verdasco 6-4, 7-6. Second seed Andy Murray of Great Britain defeated USA’s hard-court master Mardy Fish 6-4, 7-6 to set up the third round clash with Bulgaria’s Grigor Dimitrov. The Bulgarian came through on Tuesday in his match against Canada’s Vasek Pospisil. No.8 seed Rafael Nadal of Spain needed some hard work in his match against Frenchman Jeremy Chardy before beating him. Nadal, who has not won a hard court tournament since 2014 Qatar Open, dominated the longer rallies before breaking Chardy in the fourth game. The Frenchman also had two break chances but he couldn’t capitalize on both occasions. Early in the second set, Chardy had six break points against Nadal but he lost them all. Midway through the second set, Nadal found the required break and romped home with a 6-3, 6-4 victory. For a place in the round-of-eight, Nadal will meet fellow Spaniard Feliciano Lopez, who defeated Italy’s Andreas Seppi 7-6, 6-2.

No.5 seed Stan Wawrinka of Switzerland had a tough second round match with Croatian teenager Borna Coric. Riding on Wawrinka’s unfocused, Coric took the first set and forced a tiebreak in the second. But the 18-year-old Croat committed a double fault and handed over three set points. Wawrinka made no mistake and seized the set before dominating the third set to win at 3-6, 7-6, 6-3. In the third round, the Swiss will face another Croat, Ivo Karlovic, who entered the third round on Tuesday by beating Slovakia’s Martin Klizan.


In other matches, 12th-seed Frenchman Richard Gasquet defeated Australian Thanasi Kokkinakis 7-6, 6-2; South Africa’s Kevin Anderson beat American Jack Sock 6-3 7-6; Poland’s jerzy Janowicz defeated USA’s Jared Donaldson 6-4, 7-6 and Spanish veteran Tommy Robredo defeated USA’s Sam Querry 6-1, 5-7, 6-3.


Among women, defending champion and top-seed Serena Williams began her Cincinnati campaign with a 7-5, 6-3 win over Bulgarian Tsvetana Pironkova. Serena needed 90 minutes in a relatively easy encounter, during which she sent down 15 aces. The world no.1 next faces Italy’s Karin Knapp, who defeated Russia’s Daria Gavrilova 6-4, 6-1. However, no.2 seed Maria Sharapova of Russia has withdrawn from the tournament on account of a right leg injury.


In other matches on Wednesday, Romania’s third seeded Simona Halep beat Frenchwoman Kristina Mladenovic 7-5, 5-7, 6-4; no.7 seed Lucie Safarova of the Czech Republic defeated USA’s Coco Vandeweghe 6-4, 7-5; 8th seed Czech Karolina Pliskova beat Hungarian qualifier Timea Babos 6-4, 7-5 and 14th seeded Ukrainian Elina Svitolina defeated Canada’s Eugenie Bouchard 7-6, 7-5. However, Czech Republic’s no.4 seed Petra Kvitova was beaten 7-5, 4-6, 6-2 by Frenchwoman Caroline Garcia and Denmark’s no.5 seed Caroline Wozniacki suffered a 0-6, 4-6 loss against Victoria Azarenka of Belarus.


In a men’s doubles match, India’s Leander Paes and Switzerland’s Stan Wawrinka entered the quarterfinals with a 7-6, 3-6, 10-3 victory over Canadian/American duo of Vasek Pospisil and Jack Sock. In a women’s doubles second round match, top seeds Martina Hingis/Sania Mirza defeated the unseeded German-Polish combo of Julia Goerges/Klaudia Jans-Ignacik 7-6, 6-4 to enter the quarterfinals.