NEW YORK – Serena Williams avoided the earliest defeat in 19 appearances at the US Open.
Williams returned from a set in the second round – the first time she lost a set In the round of 64, 17-year-old American Caty McNally beat Flushing Meadows 5: 7, 6: 3, 6: 1, when Wednesday became a Thursday. Williams did not drop a single point on her serve in the crucial third set and won 24 of the total 29 points played. She had no breakpoint in the last two sentences.
"You can not win tournaments that make so many mistakes," Williams said. "I knew I had to play better and I knew I could."
And so she did it.
"Obviously she will improve her level, I knew that would happen," McNally said with her. "
Williams improved to 38: 0 in the first two rounds of Flushing Meadows. The only time she was beaten in the third round in New York was her tournament debut in 1
The following year, Williams won the first of her six US Open Championships. McNally was not even born.
Now, Williams has a total of 23 Grand Slam singles titles, and she showed why she broke through a deficit and took 16 of the initial 17 points of the final set.
McNally had never won a match at a major tournament until Monday. She finished in 121st place and received from the US Tennis Association a wildcard invitation for singles and doubles, the latter with 15-year-old sensation. Coco Gauff.
Serena Williams returns to defeat Catherine McNally and expresses how tired she is and what mistakes she made during her post-game interview.
Williams never looked well when McNally attacked the net, opened it and looked like someone on that stage.
The crowd at Arthur Ashe Stadium was louder under the retractable roof, which was closed all day for showering, than usual states in the country's Grand Slam tournament.
"She's young, it's her first time in such a stage and only her second Grand Slam, so I think there's a lot to win," said Lynn Nabors-McNally. Caty's mother, who also helps with coaching her. "It's a great springboard for many things."
McNally almost came to the sideline as she waved her arms and tried to get the audience to offer more noise and applause after she had pulled out the opening set in an impressive way: first, McNally set her only breakpoint of the match at 6-5 um, she then served the set, though she lagged behind Love-40, cleared three breakpoints and sealed a 103-mile service winner – and pleaded with the fans to get loud.
You have agreed.
"I knew I was playing the biggest of all times, I went out and had chills," McNally said, "super happy to get just one set from her. That's something not very many people do. "
And for a bit of the second set, McNally also stayed with Williams.
But Williams began to pull out, partly by giving up the bonuses, the McNally good partly by reducing their mistakes from 15 unforced errors in the first set to 11 in the second to two in the third.
"I want to be able to win games where I do not do my best and then play players, who are great at playing and able to get through, and I have to be tested, I think, "said Williams. Honestly, I would rather not be tested and win every game. That does not happen, so it's important for me to have these really tough, noisy matches – that helps me a lot.
ESPN Stats & Information and The Associated Press have contributed to this report.