Tennis

US Open 2019: Top stars have it tough

Serena Williams celebrates her victory during the US Open 2019 tennis tournament in New York.

Serena Williams celebrates her victory during the US Open 2019 tennis tournament in New York.   | Photo Credit: AFP

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Rain affects the schedule

Serena Williams nearly crashed out of the rain-hit US Open on Wednesday while top-ranked defending champion Novak Djokovic battled through shoulder pain and Roger Federer advanced despite a weak start.

Eighth seed Serena, seeking her 24th career Grand Slam title to match Margaret Court’s all-time record, got a scare before ousting 17-year-old US wildcard Caty McNally 5-7, 6-3, 6-1.

Djokovic, winner of four of the past five Slam titles, was treated for a sore left shoulder throughout his 6-4, 7-6(3), 6-1 victory over Argentina’s 56th-ranked Juan Ignacio Londero.

Djokovic’s injury casts grave doubts on his bid to be the first US Open repeat winner since Federer won from 2004-2008, admitting he wondered if he would even get through the first set.

Playing through pain

“This is something I’ve been carrying for quite a while now,” Djokovic said. “It wasn’t easy to play with the pain, but you have to hope you will get some opportunities and some lucky shots.

“It’s not the first time I’m facing this kind of adversity or challenge. It is what it is and I’m just grateful to be on the court.”

Federer, who last triumphed here in 2008, rallied to beat 99th-ranked Bosnian Damir Dzumhur 3-6, 6-2, 6-3, 6-4.

The 38-year-old Swiss third seed, who also dropped the first set against Indian qualifier Sumit Nagal in his opener, answered the wake-up call despite 17 first-set unforced errors.

“It’s just a bit frustrating more than anything, especially when the level is that low and there are that many errors and the energy is not kind of there,” Federer said. “But can only do better, which is a great thing moving forward.

What the year’s final Grand Slam event lacked in quantity, with 22 singles matches postponed by showers, it overcame with quality in amazing matches that challenged three of the greatest stars in tennis history.

There were wins for seventh seed Kei Nishikori, French Open champion Ashleigh Barty and third seed Karolina Pliskova. However, seven-time Grand Slam winner Venus Williams crashed out.

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Printable version | Jan 24, 2020 5:15:23 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/sport/tennis/us-open-2019-top-stars-have-it-tough/article29291664.ece

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