Serena Williams was flustered when she bought referred to as for taking an excessive amount of time between factors, flung away her racket after letting a lead slip away and completed surprisingly meekly in a 5-7, 7-6 (5), 6-1 loss to Maria Sakkari on the Western & Southern Open on Tuesday evening.
This was Williams’ fifth match since skilled tennis resumed amid the coronavirus pandemic after a hiatus of almost six months — and all 5 have gone three units. She is 3-2 in that stretch.
The end result in opposition to No. 13 seed Sakkari, and significantly the best way the match ended, was hardly promising for Williams because the U.S. Open’s begin approaches subsequent week.
The Western & Southern Open is normally held in Ohio however was moved to the U.S. Open’s website in Flushing Meadows this yr to make for a two-event, no-spectator “bubble” in the course of the pandemic.
Williams was seemingly in management early, serving for the primary set at 5-3, 30-0, when issues started to unravel. She missed two backhands in a row, then put a forehand into the online to arrange a break level, and walked over to the stand holding her towel behind the courtroom (the ball folks usually deal with towels for gamers, however not throughout COVID-19).
That’s when chair umpire Aurelie Tourte referred to as a time violation. On the next level, Williams sailed a forehand lengthy to get damaged.
On the ensuing changeover, the 23-time Grand Slam champion argued with Tourte, saying: “I imply, I’m getting my very own towels. That’s not truthful. It’s best to inform me on the sidelines subsequent time if I must play sooner. Consider me, I’ll. … You didn’t even give me a warning.”
Whereas Williams ultimately did seize that set, she once more frittered away a 5-Three lead within the second, plus a 4-1 edge within the tiebreaker. When she sat after the second set, the 38-year-old American tossed her racket over her shoulder the best way an workplace employee would possibly flip a crumpled piece of paper towards a trash can.
Williams got here out flat within the third set, as if she’d fairly be anyplace else. She double-faulted 4 instances within the second recreation, together with on Sakkari’s eighth break probability, to make it 2-Zero and that was just about that.
Hours earlier, Novak Djokovic’s neck felt significantly better, and his tennis seemed significantly better, in a 6-2, 6-Four victory over unseeded American Tennys Sandgren that improved the No. 1-ranked man to 20-Zero in 2020.
“Truly, I’m pleasantly stunned with the best way I recovered and felt right now — simply general, bodily, but in addition with the neck, particularly, as a result of that was a bit of little bit of a priority,” mentioned Djokovic, who will likely be eyeing his 18th Grand Slam title on the U.S. Open. “Going again 4, 5 days, I did battle quite a bit.”
Djokovic was handled by a coach and performed sluggishly in his opening match Monday, however he was at his finest from the outset in opposition to Sandgren and saved all 4 break factors he confronted.
Djokovic will face 34th-ranked Jan-Lennard Struff within the quarterfinals. The opposite quarterfinal within the prime half of the draw will likely be defending champion Daniil Medvedev in opposition to No. eight seed Roberto Bautista Agut.
Reilly Opelka, a 6-foot-11 American who’s ranked 39th, delivered 19 aces and knocked off 2019 U.S. Open semifinalist Matteo Berrettini 6-3, 7-6 (4). Opelka subsequent meets No. Four seed Stefanos Tsitsipas, whose 7-6 (2), 7-6 (4) win over No. 16 John Isner was interrupted by a rain delay of almost 1 half of hours late within the first set.
Additionally interrupted by the climate was three-time Grand Slam champion Andy Murray’s 6-2, 6-2 loss to 2016 Wimbledon runner-up Milos Raonic, who has held all 29 video games he’s served to this point within the match.
“It was poor. Didn’t play nicely. It was not a very good day,” mentioned Murray, who hadn’t competed since November due to a pelvic harm and is taking part in on a steel hip after two operations on that joint. “The positives are that I bought three matches in. Bodily, I pulled up OK.”
Girls’s quarterfinal matchups set earlier within the day had been two-time Grand Slam champion Naomi Osaka in opposition to Anett Kontaveit, former No. 1 Victoria Azarenka in opposition to Ons Jabeur, and 83rd-ranked American qualifier Jessica Pegula in opposition to No. 14 Elise Mertens.
Extra AP tennis: https://www.apnews.com/apf-Tennis and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports