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

The Record (Troy, NY) - - SPORTS - By Brian Ma­honey

NEWYORK » Venus Wil­liams did her part, then waited to see if Ser­ena would win to set up an ear­lier-than-usual Grand Slam matchup be­tween the Wil­liams sis­ters at the U.S. Open.

Venus beat Camila Giorgi 6- 4, 7-5 on Wed­nes­day, a cou- ple of hours be­fore Ser­ena was sched­uled for a match at night. A vic­tory then would have the Wil­liams sis­ters meet­ing in the third round, ear­lier than they have in a Grand Slam in 20 years.

“Ob­vi­ously, it’s early in the tour­na­ment, so both of us are go­ing to be look­ing for­ward to con­tin­u­ing to play bet­ter,” Venus said. “Ob­vi­ously, it’s def­i­nitely a tough draw. She’s def­i­nitely fully ca­pa­ble of win­ning tonight’s match. So hope­fully I’ll see her Fri­day.”

De­fend­ing cham­pion Sloane Stephens and twotime U.S. Open fi­nal­ist Vic­to­ria Azarenka also will meet in the third round af­ter vic­to­ries on an­other hot and hu­mid day at the fi­nal Grand

Slam tour­na­ment of the year, where sim­ply 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.

Stephens was in trou­ble early be­fore ral­ly­ing to beat Ukrainian qual­i­fier An­helina Kalin­ina 4- 6, 7-5, 6-2.

Venus Wil­liams was spared some of the most di­rect sun by play­ing in the re­built Louis Arm­strong Sta­dium, which is well-shaded. But there was only so much pro­tec­tion avail­able on a day when tem­per­a­tures soared into the mid90s 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 her 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.

They have twice met in the U. S. Open fi­nal, split­ting meet­ings in 2001 and 2002.

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 sec- ond 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 also were in ac­tion Wed­nes­day. The 2009 win­ner, del Potro, beat Amer­i­can Den­nis Kudla 6- 3, 6-1, 7- 6 (4). He would meet Mur­ray in the third round if the 2012 win­ner got past No. 31 seed Fer­nando Ver­dasco.

JASON DECROW — THE AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

Ser­ena Wil­liams, of the United States, re­turns a shot to Magda Linette, of Poland, dur­ing the first round of the U.S. Open ten­nis tour­na­ment, Mon­day in New York.

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