Serena And Venus Williams Lose In 1st Round Of U.S. Open Doubles

NEW YORK (AP) — Serena and Venus Williams traded fist bumps or palm slaps and chatted between factors. They smiled whereas conversing of their seats at changeovers.

When their first doubles match collectively in 4 1/2 years ended with a loss on the U.S Open on Thursday evening, the siblings hugged one another, then left the court docket to a standing ovation.

The Williams sisters had been eradicated by the Czech pair of Lucie Hradecka and Linda Noskova 7-6 (5), 6-4 at Flushing Meadows.

“I was speechless when I found out I’m going to face these two. I mean, they’re legends. And I was always such a big fan of them, especially Serena. She has been my idol since ever, probably,” stated Noskova, a 17-year-old making her Grand Slam debut in doubles. “So I was really happy, excited, but kind of scared, to face them.”

Arthur Ashe Stadium had by no means hosted a first-round doubles match — for ladies or males, through the evening or day — till this one that includes two members of 1 household who’ve mixed to say 14 Grand Slam titles in doubles.

“It’s something incredible, because playing first round in a huge stadium, with 23,000 people, is something amazing,” stated the 37-year-old Hradecka, who gained main doubles trophies with Andrea Hlavackova on the 2013 U.S. Open and 2011 French Open. “I don’t think (when) we played the final here, it was packed like this.”

Serena and Venus Williams hugged one another after shedding their match towards Linda Noskova and Lucie Hradecka of the Czech Republic.

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The Williams sisters, who didn’t do interviews after the match, had been partnering up for the primary time because the 2018 French Open. This was their fourth first-round doubles defeat at a Slam; the newest had been on the 2013 French Open.

“I’m still in shock that we won,” Hradecka stated in an on-court interview proper after the match’s conclusion.

Chatting with the sellout crowd of 23,859, she stated: “I’m so sorry for you that we beat them, but we are so happy that we did it.”

The followers weren’t practically as boisterous as they had been for every of the 2 victories in singles this week for Serena, who has hinted that this would be the remaining occasion of her profession.

Serena performs Ajla Tomljanovic on Friday evening within the third spherical of singles; Venus was bounced from that bracket within the first spherical.

After a fairly subdued entrance from the locker room by Hradecka and Noskova, who had been competing as a staff for the primary time, a video tribute to the Williams-Williams pairing performed on the Ashe videoboards, with a narrator introducing “two of the greatest athletes on Planet Earth” and, in a reference to Serena’s looming retirement, saying, “It’s not too late to change your mind.”

There was footage of them by way of the years, together with as youngsters with white beads of their hair (like Serena’s daughter, Olympia, wore on opening evening) and, later, successful titles.

Olympia, who turned 5 on Thursday, was not there for this one, Serena’s husband, Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian was, as had been the sisters’ mom, Oracene Worth, and their sister, Isha.

Through the pre-match warmup, the announcer famous that the sisters are 14-0 in Grand Slam doubles finals and declared: “They’ve transformed and elevated the sport as we know it.”

The spectators saved their largest cheers for a few of Serena’s finest efforts, whether or not aces or putaways or an on-the-run forehand winner. The sisters went up 5-4 early and held two set factors there on Noskova’s serve, however couldn’t convert both.

The loudest second most likely arrived after a 19-stroke level gained by the sisters through the first-set tiebreaker, that includes three swinging volleys by Serena. That put them forward 4-3, and shortly it was 5-3.

However Hradecka and Noskova grabbed the subsequent 4 factors to say that set. They then jumped forward 3-0 within the second, and after the Williams sisters made it 4-all, the Czech staff pulled away.

The Williams siblings obtained a wild-card entry into this yr’s doubles area. Serena, who turns 41 subsequent month, and Venus, who turned 42 in June, gained doubles trophies on the U.S. Open in 1999 ― the yr Serena gained her first main singles trophy at age 17 in New York ― and 2009.

They’ve a complete of 30 main trophies in singles: 23 for Serena, seven for Venus.

“Playing against the Williams sisters,” Noskova stated, “is a special moment for everybody.”