Serena Williams’ final run at US Open glory will have to come in singles play. The 23-time Grand Slam singles champion and her sister, Venus Williams, fell to Lucie Hradecká and Linda Nosková in the first round of doubles Thursday.
Hradecká and Nosková claimed a 7-6 (5), 6-4 win over the Williams sisters, spoiling their first doubles match at Flushing Meadows since 2014. The match was a rare doubles night session at Arthur Ashe Stadium, the first since Mike and Bob Bryan beat Colin Fleming and Jonathan Marray in the 2013 men’s quarterfinals.
With the big win, Hradecká and Nosková will play Alexa Guarachi and Andreja Klepac in the second round of doubles. Guarachi and Klepac are coming off an impressive straight-set victory over Alicia Barnett and Olivia Nicholls.
“Playing against the Williams sisters is a special moment for everybody, everyone, any time,” Nosková said after the match. “So, I was really lucky that I could pair with my doubles partner and we could win and put up a good fight.”
Serena Williams certainly put on a display in singles the day prior. In front of a record night session crowd of 29,959, Williams defeated World No. 2 Anna Kontaveit to keep her championship hopes alive in her final Grand Slam event. Williams, who’s one US Open title away from passing Chris Evert for the most ever, has indicated she will retire after the tournament.
Up next for Williams is a Friday match against unseeded Ajla Tomljanovic, who — on paper, at least — presents much less of a challenge than Kontaveit. As for the seven-time Grand Slam champion Venus Williams, her US Open is over after she fell to Alison Van Uytvanck in the first round.
Thursday’s doubles match was likely the last appearance for the Williams sisters together. The pair has been utterly dominant over the years, winning 14 Grand Slams, which is the second most for a duo in the Open era, behind only Pam Shriver and Martina Navratilova’s 20.