Venus wins at US Open, could meet Ser­ena in 3rd round

Malta Independent - - SPORT -

Venus Wil­liams did her part to set up an ear­lier-than-usual Grand Slam matchup with sis­ter Ser­ena at the U.S. Open, beat­ing Camila Giorgi 6-4, 7-5 on Wed­nes­day.

Ser­ena was sched­uled to play at night, when a vic­tory would have the Wil­liams sis­ters meet­ing in the third round, ear­lier than they have in a Grand Slam in 20 years.

De­fend­ing cham­pion Sloane Stephens and two-time U.S. Open fi­nal­ist Vic­to­ria Azarenka will also meet in the third round af­ter vic­to­ries on an­other hot and hu­mid day at the fi­nal Grand Slam tour­na­ment of the year, where win­ning wasn’t enough.

Win­ning quickly and get­ting back in­doors was on ev­ery­one’s mind.

“Yeah, I’m very happy about that,” Azarenka said af­ter over­pow­er­ing No. 25 seed Daria Gavrilova of Aus­tralia 6-1, 6-2.

Venus Wil­liams was spared some of the most di­rect sun by play­ing in the re­built Louis Arm­strong Sta­dium, which is well­shaded. But there was only so much pro­tec­tion avail­able on a day when tem­per­a­tures soared into the mid-90s for the sec­ond straight day.

“Maybe the hottest con­di­tions I have ev­ery played (in),” No. 20 seed Borna Coric said af­ter win­ning his sec­ond-round match in straight sets.

An ex­treme heat rule was to re­main in ef­fect un­til fur­ther no­tice, al­low­ing men to take a 10-minute break be­tween the third and fourth set of sin­gles matches, and women to do so be­tween their sec­ond and third sets.

Ser­ena, at No. 17 seeded one spot be­low her older sis­ter, should face cooler con­di­tions dur­ing a night match against Ca­rina Wit­thoeft.

If she wins, the show­down with Venus would be the ear­li­est be­tween the Wil­liams sis­ters at a Grand Slam tour­na­ment since they played in the sec­ond round of the 1998 Aus­tralian Open in their very first meet­ing on tour.

Stephens was in trou­ble early be­fore ral­ly­ing to beat Ukrainian qual­i­fier An­helina Kalin­ina 4-6, 75, 6-2.

Other seeded win­ners on the women’s side in­cluded No. 8 Elina Svi­tolina, No. 15 Elise Mertens, No. 19 Anas­tasija Sev­as­tova and No. 23 Barbora Strycova, all in straight sets.

“Es­pe­cially with the heat, I wanted to make the match a lit­tle shorter,” Mertens said.

Stan Wawrinka ran his U.S. Open win­ning streak to nine, and the 2016 cham­pion will next meet No. 25 seed Mi­los Raonic. But No. 15 seed Ste­fanos Tsit­si­pas was elim­i­nated in the sec­ond round, a sur­pris­ingly early exit af­ter his strong hard-court sea­son.

Past U.S. Open cham­pi­ons Rafael Nadal, Juan Martin del Potro and Andy Mur­ray were all in ac­tion later yes­ter­day — with 2009 win- ner del Potro and 2012 win­ner Mur­ray to meet in the third round with vic­to­ries.

Mean­while, ear­lier on Tues­day, as her 40th birth­day ap­proached, Patty Sch­ny­der came back to ten­nis for nights like this — fac­ing Maria Shara­pova at the U.S. Open un­der the lights in a 14,000-seat arena.

It was Sch­ny­der’s first main­draw ap­pear­ance at a ma­jor tour­na­ment since 2011, and she did make things in­ter­est­ing, eras­ing a big deficit in the sec­ond set only to fall short of push­ing their match to a third, even­tu­ally los­ing to five­time ma­jor cham­pion Shara­pova 6-2, 7-6 (6) on Tues­day night.

“That,” Sch­ny­der said, “was fun.” Sch­ny­der is ranked 186th, so she had to go through qual­i­fy­ing rounds to make it into the main draw — and she be­came the old­est woman to suc­cess­fully do that at any Grand Slam tour­na­ment. She also was the old­est mem­ber of this year’s 128-woman sin­gles field, and the third-old­est in U.S. Open his­tory.

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