Williams sisters, Nadal reach 4th round at US Open

NEW YORK: Seeking her third grand slam victory of the year, Serena Williams withstood a strong test from Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez of Spain 6-3, 7-5 to advance to the fourth round of the U.S.Open.

No. 3 Venus Williams, the 2000-01 Open champion, avoided adding to the list of stunning results when she got past 46th-ranked Magdalena Rybarikova of Slovakia 6-2, 7-5. Next up for the elder Williams. Other winners included No. 7 Vera Zvonareva of Russia, No. 10Flavia Pennetta of Italy, No. 18 Li Na of China and No. 26 Francesca Schiavone of Italy.

No. 1 Dinara Safina made it to Saturday''s third round, but barely. She needed more than 4 hours to get through two three-set victories.

The best men have faced no such problems: No. 3 Rafael Nadal''s 6-0, 3-6, 6-3, 6-4 victory Friday night in the last match of Day 5means the men seeded 1-16 all reached the third round at a Grand Slam tournament for the first time in the 41-year Open era.

Friday''s other winners included No. 2 Andy Murray, No. 7Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and No. 9 Gilles Simon. None of the top 10 men had even dropped a single set much less lost until 2008runner-up Murray''s little slip in his 6-2, 3-6, 6-0, 6-2 win over87th-ranked Paul Capdeville of Chile on Friday afternoon.