NEW YORK, NY, USA - Maria Sharapova shone under the lights of Arthur Ashe Stadium on Wednesday night, winning her second round match routinely - and in the third round she will play someone who travelled a different path.
Sharapova had a stubborn opponent on her hands - Lourdes Domínguez Lino, who has had her best career results on clay, was a model of consistency, hitting just four unforced errors in the match. But she also had no winners and the No.3-seeded Sharapova's power was just too much, producing 30 winners to just 17 unforced. At the end of the night it all added up to a 60 61 scoreline.
"She's someone who likes to have a lot of time, and I didn't want to give that to her," Sharapova said. "I played my game, stayed aggressive and opened up the court. I'm pretty happy to be in the third round of the US Open again."
Sharapova is now 14-0 in her career in night matches on Ashe Stadium.
"There's something special about the night matches in New York, I think because of its history," Sharapova said. "There's a special feeling about it. But it's great to be out on Arthur Ashe playing tennis whether it's day or night."
Next up for Sharapova will be college tennis star Mallory Burdette, who scored a 62 64 victory over Lucie Hradecka earlier in the day. Not only is Burdette playing in her first Grand Slam tournament, she is only in her second WTA tournament at all, having reached the second round of Stanford last month.
"This summer has been amazing," Burdette said. "One of my biggest goals was to play some pro tournaments and just to see if I enjoyed travelling and going to play these tournaments week in and week out. And I can honestly say I've enjoyed the whole process - it's been great - and to end up here at the US Open was a huge surprise. I never expected this at the start of the summer.
"I thought I missed my chance at the NCAAs when I lost in the finals, but this wasn't even on my radar. It's been a crazy ride. It has been very exciting."
Burdette, a senior at Stanford, received a main draw wildcard here based on her results during the USTA Pro Circuit events during the summer. But she also spoke strongly about college tennis and its benefits for one's game.
"I think college tennis is a great breeding ground for players," Burdette said. "I definitely wasn't sure when I was 18 whether I wanted to go pro or not. I was on the fence. And so I took my time and went to college, worked towards a degree, and just went from there. The whole experience has been so valuable for me."
What does she think of playing Sharapova next? "It's going to be quite an experience. I've always looked up to Maria. I remember sitting with my coach when she won her first Wimbledon title and talking about her game and the way that she plays. I would certainly love to play more like her in the future.
"It's going to be a lot of fun. I'm really looking forward to it."
The other Top 8 players in action on Day 3 - Victoria Azarenka, Petra Kvitova, Sam Stosur and Li Na - all won through in straight sets. Stosur, the No.7 seed and defending champion here, scored a 63 60 win over Romanian qualifier Edina Gallovits-Hall, then did a little bit of post-match shuffling.
"Well, LMFAO was sitting in the box. I met him before my match. I figured there's maybe only going to be one chance you can do that at the US Open with him there," Stosur said. "He loves tennis. He's friends with one of the WTA staff. She was showing him around the center here. He came by the table and said hi. He's a mad tennis fan and loves playing. It was pretty cool.
"I thought maybe I would do it after the match, but then I thought I would chicken out, but then I thought I've got to do it. And I got it out there."
Stosur was also asked if she nailed it. "I don't know. I'm sure I looked like a goose. I'm waiting for someone to tell me if it was all right or not."
Other seeds moving on were Marion Bartoli, Lucie Safarova, Nadia Petrova, Zheng Jie and Varvara Lepchenko. Bartoli reaching the third round means Caroline Wozniacki will fall out of the Top 10 on the next rankings.
A few more seeds were sent home on Day 3, with No.17 seed Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova falling to French wildcard Kristina Mladenovic, 61 62; No.23 seed Kim Clijsters falling to Laura Robson in her final tournament, 76(4) 76(5); and No.25 seed Yanina Wickmayer falling to Pauline Parmentier, 76(5) 63.