© Reuters. Tennis – U.S. Open – Flushing Meadows, New York, United States – September 1, 2022 Serena Williams and Venus Williams of the U.S. in motion throughout their ladies’s doubles first spherical match in opposition to Czech Republic’s Linda Fruhvirtova and Lucie Hradecka REUTE
By Steve Keating
NEW YORK (Reuters) -The U.S. Open turned over Arthur Ashe Stadium to the Williams sisters on Thursday for a prime-time first spherical doubles match that might have been Serena’s final after the pair fell 7-6 (5) 6-4 to the Czech duo of Lucie Hradecka and Linda Noskova.
Winners of 14 Grand Slam doubles titles, together with two U.S. Opens, the Williams sisters had been taking part in collectively for the primary time in additional than 4 years, the event attracting a capability crowd to look at one among tennis’s most profitable partnerships take maybe a ultimate bow.
If it was certainly the final time the Williams sisters would stand shoulder-to-shoulder on courtroom, the tip got here with little sentiment or emotion. The 2 greats embraced briefly on the internet then stoically packed their luggage, exited to a standing ovation and provided solely a delicate wave to the cheering crowd.
“I am so sorry for you that we beat them, however we’re so joyful that we did it,” apologised Hradecka to the group after the match. “I am nonetheless in shock.”
Serena signalled her intention to retire in a Vogue article in early August, saying she was “evolving away from tennis” however by no means confirming the U.S. Open as her ultimate occasion.
Flushing Meadows, nonetheless, has not seen the final of Serena simply but, with the 40-year-old again in motion on Arthur Ashe on Friday for an eagerly anticipated third spherical singles conflict with Australia’s Ajla Tomljanovic.
The prime-time doubles match reminded tennis as soon as once more of the immense reputation of the Williams sisters and absolutely the maintain they’ve on the game.
Doubles are seldom seen throughout the early rounds on Arthur Ashe, normally banished to the surface courts till the boys’s and ladies’s, or blended doubles finals when they’re introduced in as opening acts for the primary occasions.
Even then these Grand Slam championship contests are performed in a largely empty stadium to entertain early arrivals for the boys’s and ladies’s finals.
However on Thursday the world’s greatest tennis stadium was packed to the rafters with Venus and Serena becoming a member of forces for his or her first U.S. Open since 2014.
Aside from maybe Roger Federer and Rafa Nadal – in the event that they had been to type a doubles partnership – it’s uncertain every other gamers might trigger the US Tennis Affiliation (USTA) to contemplate turning over the prime-time night slot to a doubles match.
“You might have Venus and Serena taking part in for first time right here in eight years there is a demand to see that,” USTA spokesman Chris Widmaier informed Reuters concerning the resolution to place doubles on the primary present courtroom. “There’s additionally the followers that are not right here, they need to see that on tv.
“To us it was the apparent factor to do.”