Aug 30, 2016; New York, NY, USA; Serena Williams of the USA hits to Ekaterina Makarova of Russia on day two of the 2016 U.S. Open tennis tournament at USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. Mandatory Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports
Reuters: Serena Williams will try to take another step towards a record-setting 23rd grand slam title at the U.S. Open on Thursday while Andy Murray continues his quest to complete a golden summer.
World number one Williams faces fellow American Vania King in second round action and a victory would put her five match wins away from breaking the professional era record for grand slam titles that she currently shares with Steffi Graf.
“I can improve a lot,” said Williams, who needed just 63 minutes to get by Russia’s Ekaterina Makarova in the first round. “I can get a lot better. I feel like there’s much, much more I can do. That’s the only thing I can do is do that.”
Williams came two wins away from a rare calendar-year grand slam last year only to lose in the U.S. Open semi-finals to eventual runner-up Roberta Vinci of Italy.
This year, with a niggling shoulder injury knocking some speed off her usually destructive serve, Williams is not sure what she is capable of.
“I had a great experience last year,” she said. “I was going for something that no one has done in a really long time. Yeah, it didn’t end out wonderful for me or the way I wanted it to end. But it was all I could do. That’s all I could do.
“If I could make the semis this year, I’d be excited about that. I need to at least do something.”
Fourth seed Agnieszka Radwanska, one of three women who could unseat Williams atop the world rankings following the U.S. Open, meets Britain’s Naomi Broady.
Fifth seed Simona Halep faces former French Open finalist Lucie Safarova while sixth seed Venus Williams meets Julia Goerges of Germany.
On the men’s side, Wimbledon and Olympic champion Murray plays Marcel Granollers of Spain. Murray has won six of seven career meetings with Granollers and should enjoy smooth passage to the third round.
In other action on the men’s side, two-time grand slam winner Stan Wawrinka faces Italy’s Alessandro Giannessi while Japanese sixth seed Kei Nishikori plays Russia’s Karen Khachanov.
Nadal completes ‘roof’ double at US Open
Reuters: Rafa Nadal boasted after his first-round U.S. Open match that he had a video recording of being the first player to hit a ball in practice under the new roof at Arthur Ashe Stadium.
On Wednesday, the fourth-seeded Spaniard achieved the double as he hit the first ball in competition under the $150 million roof after rain briefly interrupted his second-round match against Italian Andreas Seppi.
The crowd looked skyward at the spectacle of the high-tech closure and roared in approval when the two sides met above the court in five minutes, 35 seconds.
Play resumed seven minutes, 22 seconds after the stoppage with Nadal serving at 3-3 in the second set before he completed a 6-0 7-5 6-1 victory over Seppi that lifted him to a third-round match against Russian Andrey Kuznetsov.
The Spaniard was aglow after his victory and being part of the first match played under the Ashe Stadium roof.
“I was very happy to be the first player to play in the competition with this fantastic roof closing,” he said. “Amazing, unbelievable.”
Nadal’s mood was in stark contrast to women’s French Open champion Garbine Muguruza who had preceded her compatriot onto the Arthur Ashe Stadium court and was upset by 48th-ranked Anastasija Sevastova of Latvia 7-5 6-4 in the second round.
Muguruza and Sevastova played with the roof open, but both complained about the noise from the boisterous fans, which appeared to be exacerbated by the roof support structure trapping the sound.
Umpires continually appealed to the crowd to be quiet, but that did little to lower the noise.
“This is New York,” U.S. Tennis Association executive director Gordon Smith said. “Yes, there is crowd noise and yes, we want the crowds to come, to be excited.
“We want them to cheer. We think that over time the fans will adjust and the players will adjust.
“This is a learning year for us ... we’ll look at doing things in the future to deal with that.”