Williams crash out of US Open doubles


There will be no farewell grand slam doubles title for Serena Williams after retiring champion and sister Venus lost in the first round of the US Open.

The siblings decided to give it one last whirl four years after their previous grand slam together and six years on from the most recent of their 14 major titles.

But the old magic was not quite there and the Americans fell to a 7-6 (7-5) 6-4 loss to the Czech duo of 37-year-old Lucie Hradecka and 17-year-old Linda Noskova.

The match was surely the first opening-round doubles contest ever to begin a night session on Arthur Ashe Stadium.

When it was announced Serena and Venus would be playing doubles, it had appeared this might be the former’s last match, but her success in singles gave this contest a slightly different complexion.

The competitive desire was very much there, and Serena again looked sharp both from the back of the court and at the net.

But Hradecka and Noskova hung on and then seized their chance in the tiebreaker, Hradecka threading a fine pass down the line on set point to virtual silence.

She was emerging as the key player against her fellow veterans and, although Serena and Venus retrieved an early break to get back to 4-4, a break of the Serena serve settled the contest.

Serena will now concentrate solely on trying to extend her final tournament in singles, where she will take on Australia’s Ajla Tomljanovic in the third round on Friday (9am Saturday AEST).

While the Williams sisters bombed out, Australian Daria Saville teamed with last year’s singles runner-up Leylah Fernandez to send second seeds Coco Gauff and Jessica Pegula packing.

Saville and Fernandez knocked off the Americans 3-6 7-5 7-6 (7-5).

Gauff and Pegula were the runners-up at the French Open and the 18-year-old Gauff last month became the second-youngest player to claim the world No.1 doubles ranking.

Gauff also reached the US Open final last year with compatriot Caty McNally.

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