Following a dominant performance over Maria Sharapova in her opener, Serena Williams was thought to have an easy time Wednesday night against 17-year-old Caty McNally. But that’s not how it went.
The young McNally, who is from Ohio, hung tough with Serena early, keeping her off balance, attacking and even mixing in some serve-and-volleying with success. And she wouldn’t go away eventually getting a break and then improbably serving it out from 0-40 down to take a one set lead!
Thanks to a couple of double faults, Serena grabbed a break for a 4-2 lead. Then in the third pulled away winning 16 of the first 17 points to take the match 5-7, 6-3, 6-1 just as the clock struck midnight.
“I’m not to pleased with the way I played tonight,” Serena said to the crowd. “I promise, I’ll do better.”
Earlier, Elina Svitolina came from a break down to deny Venus Williams in the second round of the US Open on Wednesday. After dropping just one game Monday, Venus went down early to the Ukraine World No. 5 and eventually lost the first, showing her age.
The 39-year-old quickly gained the upper hand in the second but Svitolina would answer grinding out a couple of marathon games to eventually advance 6-4, 6-4.
“It was a really incredible match,” Svitolina said. “It was one of the best atmospheres I’ve played in. It was really special, really pushed me to raise my level. And Venus, it’s unbelievable what she does on the court and off the court. I really get big inspiration from her.”
Svitolina has now won her last three matches over Venus.
“I did a lot of things right today. A lot of great things to build on,” said Venus. “I served well and played well. There’s a lot for me to build on from there.
“I’m excited to get to my next matches and sad it had to end early here,” she added. “I love the challenge of playing tennis. It’s beautiful.”
With all matches on the outer courts washed out, play was confined to the indoor contests on Ashe and Armstrong.
Madison Keys won her 7th straight match cruising past Lin Zhu 6-4, 6-1. The 2017 finalist smacked 31 winners during the 69 minute win.
“I think I maybe started a little bit slow. I think some of that was just getting used to her and how she was playing,” said Keys who was down 3-1 at the start. “I feel like after I got broken in the first set, I feel like I played some really good tennis. I was really happy with my performance today.”
2016 finalist Karolina Pliskova opened things on Ashe with a straight-forward 6-1, 6-4 victory over Georgian qualifier Mariam Bolkvadze.
In the evening, French Open champion Ash Barty edged fellow mighty-mite Lauren Davis 6-2, 7-6(2). Davis served for the set in the second.
Thursday sees a big slate of matches including defending champion Naomi Osaka, Simona Halep, Petra Kvitova and Coco Gauff.
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