After losing in the first round of the US Open at Arthur Ashe Stadium in New York in straight sets to the Czech combination of Linda Nosková and Lucie Hradecká, Serena Williams’s brilliant doubles career is likely over.
The 23-time grand slam singles champion and 14-time grand slam doubles champion are still scheduled to face off against Australian Ajla Tomljanovi on Friday in the third round of the singles tournament. On Tuesday, Venus Williams fell in the first round.
In all likelihood Serena and Venus’s doubles match on Thursday night was their last together. The Czech Republic’s Nosková who is 17 and Hradecká who is 37 won 7-6(5) and 6-4 to move on to the second round.
Hradecká told the crowd of 23,000+ in an on-court interview immediately following the match, “I think we did a really good job and I’m very sorry for you that we beat them but we are so happy we did it.” In doubles play, she and Nosková played together for the first time.
The Williams tandem got off to a great start leading 5-4 in the opening set with two set points. However, the Czechs came back and won the set. Hradecká and Nosková were similarly behind in the tiebreaker before coming back to win the final four points.
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When they were up 4-1 in the second set it looked like they were going to cruise to victory. However Venus and Serena won three straight games to force a tiebreaker. But the Czechs kept their service intact to lead 5-4, and in the deciding game Hradecká broke Serena with a backhand between the sisters at the net.
The Williams sisters received a doubles wild card into the US Open. In their final doubles match together, at the 2018 French Open they advanced to the tournament’s round of 16.
Serena won the singles match against Anett Kontaveit 7-6(4), 2-6, 6-2 on Wednesday. Williams’s announcement in Vogue magazine that she will “evolve away from tennis” after the US Open was her fourth match since making the announcement.
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“I have never liked the word retirement. It doesn’t feel like a modern word to me. I’ve been thinking of this as a transition, but I want to be sensitive about how I use that word, which means something very specific and important to a community of people,” Williams, 40, stated in the Vogue article published earlier this month.
“Maybe the best word to describe what I’m up to is evolution. I’m here to inform you that I’m evolving away from tennis, toward other things that are important to me,” she remarked. In regards to her tennis career, 42-year-old Venus Williams has been mysterious.
They have won a combined 48 Grand Slam tournaments between singles and doubles and mixed doubles, and they would have a perfect record in doubles finals if they retire this year (14-0). They also won a total of three Olympic doubles gold medals and one individual gold medal between them.
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