The Serena show continued Thursday night at the US Open but ended in disappointment. Serena teamed with sister Venus in their first doubles appearance at the US Open since 2014 but the 14-time Grand Slam winners were knocked off by the Czech tandem of Lucie Hradecka and Linda Noskova 7-6(5), 6-4.
The day began with world No. 1 Iga Swiatek dominating 2017 US Open champion Sloane Stephens 6-3, 6-2.
“I’m pretty happy with my focus today,” Swiatek said on court. “I’ve had ups and downs, but here I was pretty solid from the beginning.”
Former 2-time Slam winner Garbine Muguruza recovered from 4-1 down to defeat 17-year-old Czech teen Linda Fruhvirtova 6-0, 6-4.
“I started playing very well, very concentrated, and very composed,” Muguruza said. “Obviously in the second set I think she elevated her game, start to hit good groundstrokes and got me a little bit out of place. Luckily I stayed strong there at the end of the second set and managed to close it.”
Aryna Sabalenka, the lone remaining semifinalist from last year, stayed alive but barely. Giant killer Kaia Kanepi led 6-2, 5-1 against the Belarussian but things turned quickly. Sabalenka ran off four straight games and then saved two match points in the second set breaker. Sabalenka held on to serve it out for a huge win 2-6, 7-6(8), 6-4.
Belinda Bencic and Karolina Pliskova advanced to a third round Saturday meeting. And Victoria Azarenka won a spicy one with outspoken Ukranian Marta Kostyuk.
Two more Chinese players got through bringing the third round total to four, most ever at this stage of a Slam in the Open Era.
Tomorrow night, Serena Williams returns to take on Wimbledon quarterfinalist and top 50 Ajla Tomljanovic in the third round.
“I’ve been a Serena fan since I was a kid. On Friday night I’ll just be a competitor,” said the Australian.
“I think it’s hard to block out when she’s standing across the net,” she added. “Like, I know who she is. I just remember watching her in the Wimby finals with my sister in front of the TV after my practices. It’s a little surreal to me that I made it, and played in the same era as her.
In the day, Coco Gauff and Madison Keys meet for a second time with Keys having won a thriller earlier in the year in Adelaide.
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