World number one-ranked Victoria Azarenka of Belarus advanced into the third round of the 2012 U.S. Open with a 6-2, 6-2 victory over Belgian qualifier Kirsten Flipkens. Azarenka never lost her serve to win the one-sided affair in 65 minutes at Arthur Ashe Stadium. Seeking her second Grand Slam title after winning the Australian Open this year, Azarenka will face 28th-seeded Zheng Jie of China in the third round.
"It was a little bit difficult with the wind today to adjust," said Azarenka of the winds. "It was blowing a lot from one side. You kind of had to adjust every time you changed sides. When the wind is behind you, you had to be
more patient, sometimes more aggressive, more spin. On the other hand, you had to kind of fight against it. I think I adjusted really well."
Azarenka's punishing groundstrokes were too much for the 133rd-ranked Flipkens, who had advanced to the second round of a major for the first time since Wimbledon in 2010. Flipkens led 2-1 in the second set, but squandered two break points opportunities and the train fell off the rails. The 23-year-old Azarenka, who has never advanced beyond the fourth round at Flushing Meadows, knows expectations are higher now that she is the world's top-ranked player.
"I don't feel like I have to prove something. Of course I would rather always win than lose," said Azarenka. "Taking last year's experience or the year before that, I can't really look back on it and take something. I mean, I can take something from it, but not really look back. The next match is going to be just another match to me."
American Mallory Burdette, who plays for the Stanford Cardinal, reached the third round on Wednesday as well with a 6-2, 6-4 win over Lucie Hradkova, the 69th ranked player in the world. Burdette, who is ranked 252nd in the world and made the main draw as a wild card, will most likely face a tougher opponent in the third round when she takes on either Maria Sharapova or Spain's Lourdes Dominguez Lino who play Wednesday night on Ashe Stadium Court.
"I felt pretty good out there. I was definitely a bit nervous closing out the match, but again, very happy with the way that I handled it," said Burdette.
The only downside for Burdette is that the 21-year-old Burdette, who studies psychology at the prestigious Stanford University in California, is officially classed as an amateur and with another year left on her studies, will not get a chance to spend the $65,000 in prize money she has already earned.
"She plays on a big stage almost every day because she's so good," said Burdette on the prospect of facing Sharapova next. "It's hard out there sometimes. You get outside of yourself and you're worrying about things you can't control. That's one of the things she [Sharapova] does a very good job of. You can tell she's in the zone every time she walks up to play a point. That's amazing, and nobody's perfect when it comes to their mental side."