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Serena Williams overtakes Federer for most Slam match wins

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NEW YORK —¬†Serena Williams now owns more victories in Grand Slam matches than anyone else in tennis’ Open era, surpassing Roger Federer with her 308th.

So, Serena, who’ll wind up with more?

“I don’t know. We’ll see,” Williams said during her on-court interview after reaching the U.S. Open quarterfinals by beating Yaroslava Shvedova 6-2, 6-3 on Monday.

“Hopefully we’ll both keep going,” she added. “I know I plan on it. I know he does. So we’ll see.”

Federer turned 35 on Aug. 8. Williams turns 35 on Sept. 26.

Williams’ very first win at a Grand Slam tournament came way back when she was 16, a 6-7 (5-7), 6-3, 6-1 victory over Irina Spirlea in the first round of the Australian Open on Jan. 19, 1998. Williams’ first loss at a major came in her next match, which happened to come against older sister Venus.

Nearly two decades later, through plenty of highs and lows, from championships to health scares, the younger Williams is still at it – and still winning.

“It’s a huge number,” she said about getting to 308. “I think it’s very significant, actually. I think it’s something that just really talks about the length of my career, in particular. I’ve been playing for a really long time. But also, given that consistency up there – that’s something that I’m really proud of.”

Although her 36-year-old sibling is active, many of Williams’ contemporaries have come and gone, including Justine Henin and Kim Clijsters, who are both younger, and Martina Hingis, who is only a year older.

“I definitely never thought I would be playing still,” Williams said. “Now I don’t really see when I’m going to stop, because I’m just enjoying these moments out here, getting to break records that I didn’t even know existed or I didn’t even know was possible.”

Over her career, she is 308-42 at the majors, for a winning percentage of .880. Here’s the victory breakdown: 88 at the U.S. Open, 86 at Wimbledon, 74 at the Australian Open, 60 at the French Open.

Federer is 307-51 (.858) and can’t increase his total until next season, because he is sitting out the U.S. Open and the rest of 2016 because of problems with his surgically repaired right knee. Indeed, he recently tweeted pictures of himself hiking in the Swiss countryside .

Williams, meanwhile, still has work to do at Flushing Meadows as she pursues another mark: most Grand Slam singles titles in the Open era, which began in 1968. She pulled even with Steffi Graf by collecting her 22nd trophy at Wimbledon in July.

Against the 52nd-ranked Shvedova, Williams hit a tournament-leading 126 mph serve, totaled 11 aces, won 28 of 30 points when a first serve landed in, and didn’t face a break point. So far, through four matches, Williams has not been broken at all, facing only a single break point.

“She’s hitting much harder than a regular player. And the placement and the bounce is much different,” Shvedova said. “It’s harder to reach.”

Williams has reached at least the quarterfinals in each of her past nine appearances at the U.S. Open. A year ago, she was stunned in the semifinals by Roberta Vinci, ending the American’s bid to become the first player since Graf in 1988 with a calendar-year Grand Slam.

She’ll try to get back to the semifinals by beating No. 5 Simona Halep next.

“I just feel like I’m going out there, doing what I need to do,” Williams said. “I’m not overplaying, I’m not underplaying.”

Follow Howard Fendrich on Twitter at http://twitter.com/HowardFendrich

Raonic withdraws from Miami Open with hamstring injury

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KEY BISCAYNE, Fla. (AP) Milos Raonic has pulled out of the Miami Open after aggravating a right hamstring injury that sidelined him for nearly a month.

The No. 3-seeded Raonic withdrew before Sunday’s match against American qualifier Jared Donaldson, who advanced to the fourth round.

Raonic said his injury became progressively worse after his opening match, his first since Feb. 25. He expects to be sidelined at least two weeks and perhaps longer.

The Canadian said he hasn’t made it through an entire tournament healthy since Wimbledon last July.

Nadal advances to start bid for first Key Biscayne

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KEY BISCAYNE, Fla. — Rafael Nadal’s first fist pump Friday followed his second point in the Miami Open, when he kissed a forehand off the sideline to win a long rally.

He accompanied the celebratory gesture with a skip in his step and then hit the accelerator, holding every service game to beat Dudi Sela 6-3, 6-4.

Thus began Nadal’s latest bid to win Key Biscayne.

“A lot of big motivation,” he said.

He’s playing the tournament for the 13th time and has never won it, although he was the runner-up in 2005, 2008, 2010 and 2014. At 0 for 12, it’s Nadal’s longest drought at any event, and perhaps the most glaring gap in the 14-time Grand Slam champion’s resume.

Does it bug him? He won’t admit to any frustration, but lets slip that he still remembers the exact score when he was two points from the title in the third set versus Novak Djokovic.

That was six years ago.

“Against Novak – 6-5, 15-30,” Nadal said. “It didn’t happen.”

The Spaniard has always enjoyed the atmosphere in Miami, where Latin fans give him enthusiastic support, and he likes the tournament’s hard courts. He’s simply overdue.

“I’m trying my best every year,” Nadal told the stadium crowd after dispatching Sela. “I’ve been very close four times. I will try to give myself another chance.”

Nadal is 15-4 this year and pleased with his play. He lost to Roger Federer in the Australian Open final, and again in the fourth round at Indian Wells last week.

Against Sela, Nadal served well, erased the only two break points he faced and overcame the occasional errant groundstroke on a windy afternoon.

“It was very difficult to find the right feelings,” Nadal said. “These kind of days, what you have to do is try to win. That’s what I did, and I’m happy with that.”

Making Nadal’s title bid easier will be the absence of six-time champion Djokovic and two-time champion Andy Murray, both out with elbow injuries.

But No. 3-seeded Milos Raonic is back. He won in his first match since Feb. 25, beating Viktor Troicki 6-3, 7-5. Raonic had been sidelined by a right leg injury.

“I’ve prepared the best I can for this tournament,” Raonic said. “I’m not necessarily in the best position right now, but fortunately it’s a long tournament. Doesn’t mean things can’t change and I can’t get better throughout this event.”

No. 2 Kei Nishikori beat Kevin Anderson 6-4, 6-3. No. 7 Marin Cilic lost to Jeremy Chardy 6-4, 2-6, 6-3.

In women’s play, Elena Vesnina made a quick exit only five days after winning the biggest title of her career. Seeded 13th, Vesnina lost her opening match to wild card Ajla Tomljanovic 3-6, 6-4, 7-5.

Vesnina beat Svetlana Kuznetsova in the Indian Wells final.

In a match that took two days because of rain, No. 6 Garbine Muguruza rallied past Christina McHale 0-6, 7-6 (6), 6-4. No. 3 Simona Halep beat Naomi Osaka 6-4, 2-6, 6-3. American qualifier Taylor Townsend eliminated No. 25 Robert Vinci 6-3, 6-2.