Here’s a recap of Wednesday’s action from the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center.
Serena Williams rallies past 17-year-old Caty McNally
It wasn’t easy for Serena Williams on Wednesday, but she avoided disaster after dropping her first set to 17-year-old Caty McNally to rally to the third round.
McNally broke Williams’ final serve of the first set and overcame a triple break point serving for the set to score a 7-5 win, handing Williams her first dropped set ever in the secound round of US Open play.
McNally, a past doubles partner of Wimbledon sensation Coco Gauff, displayed a powerful serve but struggled with 10 double faults. Williams eventually took over after breaking McNally in the second set, winning 10 straight points in the third set and cruising from there.
With the 5-7, 6-3, 6-1 win, Williams avoided the earliest US Open exit of her career. She had previously lost in the third round all the way back in 1998, three years before McNally was born.
Williams will face the winner of the second-round match between No. 29 seed Su-Wei Hsieh and Karolina Muchova.
Djokovic, Barty advance in straight sets
The favorites from the early evening matches won in straight sets Wednesday as three-time US Open champion Novak Djokovic and reigning French Open champion Ashleigh Barty each advanced to Round 3.
Djokovic needed a tiebreaker in the second set against Argentina’s Juan Ignacio Londero. But he cruised in the third en route to a 6-4, 7-6 (7-3), 6-1 victory to advance to the third round.
He also required attention to his left shoulder during the match.
“It was definitely affecting my serve,” Djokovic told ESPN’s Tom Rinaldi after the match. “I don’t want to talk about it too much.
“I was definitely tested, this is something I’ve been carrying for quite a while now,” Djokovic continued when pressed on the issue. “It wasn’t easy obviously playing with pain. ... I’ll move on. It’s not the first time I’ve faced this kind of adversity.”
He advances to face the winner between American Denis Kudla and Argentina’s Dusan Lajovic in the third round.
French Open champ Barty fends off Davis
Australia’s Barty, meanwhile, faced a tiebreaker in the second set against American Lauren Davis. But she held off the challenge to advance in straight sets, 6-2, 7-6 (7-2).
The win was Barty’s 30th career grand slam victory as she seeks her first US Open championship. The 23-year-old has not advanced past the fourth round at the US Open.
She’ll face the winner between China’s Shuai Peng and Greece’s Maria Sakkari in the third round.
Venus Williams falls to No. 5 Svitolina
39-year-old Venus Williams fought hard, but couldn’t overcome Elina Svitolina in the second round. Svitolina won 6-4, 6-4, in a match that seemed like it could break either way at any moment.
The second-to-last game of the match, which Williams won, was a great representation of the whole. It seesawed back and forth for nearly 15 minutes, with 8 deuces and 5 match points. Williams staved off certain elimination each time, battling to get herself one more chance to turn it around. She eventually won the game to make it 5-4 in the second set, but the final game went by in a flash and ended with Williams hitting the ball out of bounds to give Svitolina the win.
Federer overcomes slow start to beat Dzumhur
Roger Federer had another scary start at the US Open, but found his game and beat Damir Dzumhur 3-6, 6-2, 6-3, 6-4. Federer didn’t look right to begin the match, and thanks to a combination of unforced errors and less-than-inspiring play, Dzumhur got out to a strong lead. Federer lost the first set, which marked the first time ever that he’d lost the first set of his first two matches at a Grand Slam tournament.
But he’s Roger Federer. Just like he did in his first round match on Monday, things turned on a dime and he suddenly found his flow. He went up 3-0 in the second set, but when Dzumhur came back to make it 3-1, Federer was already cruising and went on to easily win the set.
Federer can’t let this short streak of slow starts continue — he’s been able to overcome them thus far, but as he gets further into the US Open, that’s just not a realistic game plan.
Pliskova cruises past Bolkvadze
After a tough win in the first round, Pliskova had a much easier time in round two. The No. 3 seed beat Mariam Bolkvadze 6-1, 6-4, and stayed in control of the match for both sets.
Bolkvadze didn’t give Pliskova as much trouble as Tereza Martincová did in the first round, but she did stave off a match point and came back to win that game before Pliskova eventually prevailed. It was a good showing from Bolkvadze, who had both her right calf and left thigh wrapped in tape. Pliskova is now headed to the third round, and she’s likely feeling better about her performance on Wednesday than she was after her nail-biting win on Monday.
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