Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Serena, Venus to meet in third round of U.S. Open

Serena Williams leads her sister Venus 17-12 in their head-to-
head series. Photo by Paul Bauman
   Let the hype begin.
   The Williams sisters will meet for the 30th time on Friday night in the third round of the U.S. Open, the earliest they have faced each other in a Grand Slam tournament in 20 years.
   Serena Williams, seeded 17th after having her first child last Sept. 1, dismissed Carina Witthoeft of Germany 6-2, 6-2 in 67 minutes tonight at 23,771-seat Arthur Ashe Stadium in Flushing Meadows, N.Y.
   During the day session, 16th-seeded Venus Williams topped Camila Giorgi of Italy 6-4, 7-5 in stifling heat and humidity in rebuilt Louis Armstrong Stadium. 
   Serena, who has a residence in Silicon Valley, leads Venus 17-12 in a less-than-scintillating series. This will be their earliest meeting in a Slam since their first one overall, a 7-6 (4), 6-1 victory by Venus in the second round of the 1998 Australian Open.
   Serena, 36, owns six U.S. Open singles titles (1999, 2002, 2008, 2012-14) and Venus, 38, has two (2000-01).   
   Also today, third seed and defending champion Sloane Stephens held off qualifier Anhelina Kalinina of Ukraine 4-6, 7-5, 6-2 in two hours, 46 minutes. Kalinina won the 2015 Sacramento Challenger at age 18.
Venus Williams beat Serena in their first meeting
20 years ago. Photo by Paul Bauman
   Stephens, a 25-year-old Fresno product, will face wild card Victoria Azarenka, a two-time U.S. Open runner-up who drubbed 25th-seeded Daria Gavrilova of Australia 6-1, 6-2 in one hour, 22 minutes.
   Sofia Kenin, 19, of Pembroke Pines, Fla., outlasted 32nd-seeded Maria Sakkari of Greece 4-6, 6-1, 6-4 to reach the third round at Flushing Meadows for the second consecutive year.
   Kenin, who won last month's $60,000 Berkeley Tennis Club Challenge, will take on eighth-seeded Karolina Pliskova, the 2016 U.S. Open runner-up to Angelique Kerber.
   Sakkari reached the final of the inaugural Mubadala Silicon Valley Classic in San Jose early this month, losing to Mihaela Buzarnescu of Romania.
   In a men's matchup of former San Jose champions, 31st-seeded Fernando Verdasco, 34, of Spain eliminated Andy Murray, who had hip surgery in January, 7-5, 2-6, 6-4, 6-4. The San Jose tournament folded after the 2013 edition.
   In first-round doubles matches:
   --Mackenzie McDonald, a 23-year-old product of Piedmont in the San Francisco Bay Area, and Yoshihito Nishioka of Japan defeated Mirza Basic and Damir Dzumhur of Bosnia and Herzegovina 6-3, 6-2.
   McDonald and Nishioka likely will face third-seeded Mike Bryan (Stanford, 1997-98) and Jack Sock, the reigning Wimbledon champions, in the second round.
   --Brothers Christian and Ryan Harrison outclassed left-handers Bradley Klahn, a 28-year-old Stanford graduate, and Daniel Nestor, a 45-year-old Canadian, 6-3, 6-3.
   Nestor plans to retire after Canada hosts the Netherlands in the World Group playoffs of the Davis Cup on Sept. 14-16. He has won eight Grand Slam men's doubles titles, including the 2004 U.S. Open with Mark Knowles.
   --No. 14 seeds Raquel Atawo, 35, of Sacramento and Anna-Lena Groenefeld of Germany beat Michaella Krajicek of the Netherlands and Pauline Parmentier of France 7-6 (3), 6-4.

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