Muchova sends Venus to first opening-round loss
Karolina Muchova took advantage of an error-prone Venus Williams to advance 6-3, 7-5 into the second round of the US Open, on Tuesday, and hand the two-time champion her first opening-round loss at the tournament.
Muchova broke Williams to start the match and deployed a wide variety of shotmaking including a pinpoint serve, a slice backhand and some well-timed trips to the net to frustrate the former world number one.
Williams was sharper at the outset of the second set and served at 5-4 with the chance to extend the match to a third, but a backhand sailed on break point and Muchova leveled at 5-5.
The 24-year-old Czech held at love the next game and sealed the win when Williams issued her third double fault on match point.
“From the start I tried to be relaxed and get to my game but it was tough to get into a rhythm because we were having very short rallies,” said Muchova, who hit 27 winners and saved six of her eight break points.
“I was happy I was able to turn it on in the end.”
Williams was 21-0 in opening-round matches at the US Open coming into Tuesday but the seven-times Grand Slam champion was undone by 34 unforced errors at Arthur Ashe Stadium, where her sister Serena looked on from the largely empty stands.
Despite the disappointment, the 40-year-old Williams, who turned professional at 14, said she was still passionate about the sport.
“I love this game,” she said.
“I’m good at what I do. It’s easy to stay motivated and excited about doing something so amazing. Not many people get to do this.”
Next up for the 20th-seeded Muchova is Russian Anna Kalinskaya, who defeated Nina Stojanovic of Serbia in straight sets earlier in the day.
Clijsters falls to Alexandrova in second comeback
Three-time champion Kim Clijsters fell at the first hurdle in her second comeback at the US Open when Russian Ekaterina Alexandrova rallied for a 3-6, 7-5, 6-1 victory to reach the second round on Tuesday.
Clijsters made a blistering start to her first singles match at Flushing Meadows for eight years and left the 21st seed shaking her head in disbelief when she took the opening set in little more than half an hour.
Alexandrova regained her composure to level up the contest in a hard-fought second stanza, however, and raced away with the third as 37-year-old mother of three Clijsters tired on a cool evening on Court 17.
Clijsters, who won two of her U.S. Open titles after her first comeback, missed last week’s Western & Southern with an abdominal injury and is still without a win since coming out of retirement for the second time in February.