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 at the U.S. Open.
Williams, seeking her 17th Grand Slam title and second straight at Flushing Meadows, 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 the high expectations that have come with that.
“My problem isn’t that I lost. I’ve lost a million times in my life,” Errani said. “My problem is trying to find the desire to fight and be on the court ready to fight. For a few weeks, I haven’t felt like I wanted to be on the court. That’s the problem.”
That concession was the most unexpected development on Day 4 of the U.S. Open, where the tournament got back on track after a rainy Wednesday that postponed eight women’s matches and shuffled the lineups.
Among the results from Thursday’s full slate:
• No. 2 seed Rafael Nadal crushed Rogerio Dutra Silva, Brazil, 6-2, 6-1, 6-0.
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 6-3, 6-1.
• Sixth-seeded Caroline Wozniacki beat Chanelle Scheepers 6-1, 6-2 to open the night session.
• Teen Victoria Duval couldn’t build on her magical victory in the first round, losing 6-2, 6-3 to Daniela Hantuchova.
• James Blake lost in doubles in the last match of his tennis career. Blake and fellow American Jack Sock fell 4-6, 6-2, 6-2 in the opening round in doubles to second-seeded Bruno Soares and Alexander Peya.
Williams got through her win unscathed, and when she was done in Ashe Stadium, five-time champion Roger Federer, the seventh seed, dispatched Carlos Berloq 6-3, 6-2, 6-1 in 1 hour, 35 minutes.
In doubles, Venus and Serena Williams rallied from down a set and from down a break in the third to win their first-round match.
A day after Venus was eliminated in singles in the second round, the sisters beat Spaniards Silvia Soler-Espinosa and Carla Suarez Navarro 6-7 (5), 6-0, 6-3 in front of a big crowd at Louis Armstrong Stadium.
The sisters have won 13 Grand Slam doubles titles together.