Venus Williams fought hard in the second but couldn’t maintain a lead in a 6-1, 7-6(5) loss to Alison Van Uytvanck in the first round at the US Open.
It was just the second time in her 25 year US Open career Venus lost in the first round at the US Open. And there may be more. After, Venus made no mention of any retirement or farewell. The 42-year-old 7-time Slam winner might just carry on.
“Right now I’m just focused on the doubles,” Venus said, not giving much more than that.
Venus does have doubles on Thursday with sister Serena. Serena will be back on court Wednesday night for a cracking match with world No. 2 Anett Kontaveit. The Estonian can’t wait.
“I’m really excited. I was really rooting for her to win today. I’ve never played against her. I mean, this is the last chance. Better late than never,” Kontaveit said on Monday.
“I’m really excited. I think the atmosphere is going to be amazing. I’m really looking forward to it. I think it’s going to be one of those matches this year that I haven’t had too many where I just have no pressure on me. I’ll just get to enjoy and play as good as I can on the day.
“I don’t feel like there is any pressure on me on the results or anything. I’m just going to take it as a real unique experience. I’m not sure if I’ll ever experience something like this again. I think it’s a special moment for her.”
Almost as expected, Alize Cornet took out defending champion Emma Raducanu 6-3, 6-3. The British teen fought off some blisters but then let slip a 3-1 second set lead dropping the last five games. Cornet authors yet another upset.
“My game at the net was pretty good,” Cornet said on Armstrong court. “I did a lot of variation. I think that’s what worked tonight.”
Raducanu will see her ranking plummet to outside the Top 80.
“In a way the target will be off my back slightly,” said Raducanu. “I just have another chance to claw my way back up there. I’ve been doing some really good work in the last six weeks especially. Just looking forward to kind of putting more of those weeks together consistently, then we’ll see what happens.”
“I think I’ll play some 250s. I think the rest of the year is that. We’ll see what the calendar holds.”
World No. 1 Iga Swiatek has been under the radar with Serena soaking up all the attention. But the Polish star rolled in her opener 6-3, 6-0.
“I think I just found my rhythm, could make her run a little bit more,” Swiatek told the crowd. “I know she has great touch, so I wanted to use my angles and I think I did that pretty well… I needed to take it up to another level. I did that at the end and in second set, so I’m pretty proud of that.
“I like playing these first matches because it’s a pretty good test for me and [I] can really find my rhythm. The last tournaments I’ve started with byes, which is great, but sometimes it’s pretty weird to play an opponent who has already played matches. Right now, we start from an even position and it’s pretty cool because I can really implement what I’ve been working on in practices.”
Former champion Sloane Stephens overcame a rough start before getting online to beat Greet Minnen 1-6, 6-3, 6-3. Garbine Muguruza got a good win over Clara Tauson, former finalist Karolina Pliskova became the first woman to play an extender breaker at the US Open topping Magda Linette 10-8 in the final set breaker.
Aryna Sabalenka, Petra Kvitova, Victoria Azarenka and Belinda Bencic were winners. Bencic ended the career of former French semifinalist and Top 10er Andre Petkovic who retired after the loss.
In the Ashe finale, Australian Open finalist Danielle Collins came from a set down to outslug 2-time champion Naomi Osaka 7-6(5), 6-3.
Tomorrow, teens sensations Coco Gauff and Leylah Fernandez return along with Madison Keys, Ons Jabeur and former winner Bianca Andreescu.
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