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szdaily -> Sports -> 
Serena sets up showdown against Venus
    2018-08-31  08:53    Shenzhen Daily

SERENA WILLIAMS topped Carina Witthoeft at the U.S. Open on Wednesday to set up a Round of 32 matchup with her sister Venus Williams.

Serena, the No. 17 seed, topped Witthoeft 6-2, 6-2 at the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center hours after Venus beat Camila Giorgi, 6-4, 7-5 in sweltering New York heat.

“It’s obviously a tough match,” Serena told ESPN of the upcoming matchup with Venus in an on-court interview in front of fans. “It’s so young in the tournament, but it is what it is. It’s not the end of the world. We would rather have met later. We’re both going to come out per usual and play our best in front of you guys.

“Normally, I would say cheer for me. But, whoever you’re feeling — me or Venus will work.”

It was another dominant win for Serena, who cruised past Magda Linette on Monday in her first U.S. Open action since giving birth.

Witthoeft held serve in the second game of the first set, but Serena broke serve the second time around to take a 3-1 lead. Serena was in control of the match from there.

The heat that lingered despite the sun having set didn’t seem to bother Serena. She did appear displeased with her equipment and went to her bag to change out rackets, but her overpowering serve was still consistently too strong for Witthoeft to contest.

Friday’s meeting will be the earliest the Williams sisters have met in a Grand Slam since the 1998 Australian Open, their first meeting on tour.

Serena, the world’s top-ranked player for 319 weeks of her career, is still climbing back in the rankings after taking time off to give birth and spend time with her daughter Alexis last September.

Serena holds a 17-12 lead in tour matches with Serena, with Venus winning their most recent match at Indian Wells in March, Serena’s first tournament after giving birth. The two last met at the U.S. Open in 2015, where Serena won in three sets in the quarterfinal round.

Venus beat Serena in straight sets to win the 2001 U.S. Open before Serena returned the favor in 2002 with a straight-set win in the final to secure the championship.

Defending champion Rafael Nadal followed Serena into Ashe and wasn’t really troubled at all, other than when he received a warning for letting the 25-second serve clock expire — something he figured was really his opponent’s fault. Either way, Nadal shrugged off that third-set distraction and finished off a 6-3, 6-4, 6-2 victory over Canada’s Vasek Pospisil.

Two other past men’s champions won — Juan Martin del Potro, who beat Dennis Kudla of the U.S., and Stan Wawrinka — as did 2017 runner-up Kevin Anderson, and No. 11 seed John Isner. Two-time major champion Garbine Muguruza built a big lead but gave it away and was stunned 3-6, 6-4, 6-4 by 202nd-ranked Czech qualifier Karolina Muchova in a match that ended after 1 a.m. as Wednesday turned to Thursday.(SD-Agencies)

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