Venus Williams loses to Sara Errani in third round; No. 2 Simona Halep also falls


Sara Errani of Italy gestures to the crowd after defeating Venus Williams in a third-round match Friday at the U.S. Open. (Mike Stobe/Getty Images For Usta)
August 29

Venus Williams went from not winning a game in the first set to not losing one in the second during her third-round U.S. Open match Friday against Sara Errani. But the Italian ultimately outmaneuvered Williams in the third set, winning, 6-0, 0-6, 7-6 (7-5).

“The crowd was amazing. Even if it was not for me, it was for her,” Errani said. “But to hear that scream of all the people, I think I will remember always.”

Errani, the tournament’s No. 13 seed, landed 86 percent of her first serves and made half as many mistakes as Williams. In the evenly matched third set, Williams served for the match with a 5-3 lead, but Errani earned a break and held serve thereafter.

Williams, 34, hasn’t made it past the third round in a Grand Slam this year. She said playing her doubles match late Thursday night and then having a quick turnaround with an afternoon match was “not ideal.” She played doubles again Friday afternoon with her sister, Serena, and they beat Oksana Kalashnikova and Olga Savchuk, 6-2, 6-1.

“Future’s looking bright,” Venus said. “You know, I definitely wish I could have taken it further today. There will be others. I think the more I play, the better I’ll be.”

No. 2 seed Halep ousted

Second seed Simona Halep of Romania was upset by Croatia’s Mirjana Lucic-Baroni, 7-6 (8-6), 6-2. Halep was serving for the first set with a 5-2 lead when she started unraveling. Lucic-Baroni won the next three games to force a tiebreaker, where Halep lost the set on a double fault.

“On the papers, I was the favorite for today to win this match, but every day, every match is another match,” Halep said. “So I have to take always match by match. I know that in tennis it is not easy to think that you can win the title. Everyone can beat you. I understand. I accept this situation. I have just to go forward, because I had many good matches and many good results this year.”

Swiss teen pulls upset

Belinda Bencic, a 17-year-old from Switzerland, knocked off No. 6 seed Angelique Kerber, 6-1, 7-5. She is the latest teenager to pull off a stunning win at the U.S. Open after 15-year-old CiCi Bellis won her first-round match against No. 12 seed Dominika Cibulkova earlier in the week.

Bencic is coached by Martina Hingis’s mother, and she grew up practicing beside Hingis, the Swiss former world No. 1.

“She taught me really to play smart and to think on the court,” Bencic said. “Almost everything I know, I know from her.”

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