Williams sisters crash out of US Open doubles but Serena not done yet
Together the sisters have won 14 doubles titles at the Slams with three Olympic gold medals.
NEW YORK (AFP) - Serena Williams reunites with sister Venus at the US Open on Thursday as four-time singles champion Rafael Nadal and world number one Iga Swiatek target the last 32.
Serena, who is on the verge of retirement from the sport after a 27-year career, has been the talk of the tournament with her emotional progress to the third round of the singles.
Now the 40-year-old will focus on the women’s doubles as she and older sister Venus play a Grand Slam together for the first time since 2018.
Their match against Linda Noskova and Lucie Hradecka of the Czech Republic will be the first women’s doubles to feature in a night session at the US Open.
Together the sisters have won 14 doubles titles at the Slams with three Olympic gold medals thrown in for good measure.
As a testament to Serena’s longevity, she had already won six of her 23 major singles titles before Noskova was even born.
"It was Serena’s idea. She’s the boss, so do whatever she tells me to do," said 42-year-old Venus when asked why the sisters decided to team up for one last time at the majors.
"We have had some great wins. It would be nice to add some more."
Their last appearance together at the Slams was at the 2018 French Open when they exited in the fourth round.
They haven’t played together in New York, where they have won two titles, since 2014.
However, the Italian famously defeated the Spanish star from two sets down in the third round of the US Open in 2015.
Ukraine v Belarus clash
A win on Thursday will allow Australian and French Open champion Nadal to become the first player to secure a spot at this year’s ATP Finals.
Carlos Alcaraz, the teenage pretender to the Nadal throne, takes on Argentina’s Federico Coria.
French Open champion Swiatek eyes the third round when she faces Sloane Stephens, the 2017 US Open champion.
The two clashed in Cincinnati two weeks ago with Swiatek winning in straight sets.
Meanwhile, Belarus’s Victoria Azarenka and Marta Kostyuk of Ukraine are set for a politically-charged grudge match.
The two face off against the backdrop of simmering recent player tensions caused by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Only last week, Azarenka was axed from an exhibition event on the eve of the US Open aimed at raising money for Ukraine.
Kostyuk was one of a number of Ukraine players who spoke out about Azarenka’s participation. Organisers subsequently jettisoned Azarenka from the event.
Belarus is a close ally of Russia and has allowed Moscow to use its territory to launch attacks into Ukraine.
Kostyuk said she turned down the chance to play in last week’s event in protest at the presence of Azarenka.
One Ukrainian exited the tournament on Thursday before taking to the court for her second round match.
Anhelina Kalinina withdrew due to illness, giving Petra Kvitova a walkover into the third round where she will face either Garbine Muguruza or fellow Czech, Linda Fruhvirtova.