Serena and Venus Williams vs. Linda Nosková and Lucie Hradecká: US Open doubles – live! | United States Tennis Open 2022

Hradecka whips a backhand down the line. It’s too good and the Williamses have work to do. That was a long first set – and Serena has a singles match tomorrow.

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Venus and Serena Williams are now 40 and 42 respectively, so they’re not quite at the peak of their careers anymore – although one of them just beat the world No 2 – but in their day they were arguably the most formidable doubles team in history. How good? Their all-time record in grand slams as a team is 125-14. At the Olympics it’s 15-1, and in tournament finals it’s a ridiculous 22-1.

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Altogether they have won 14 grand slam titles as doubles partners (to go with their mere 30 singles titles). It’s actually been a while since they played together in a grand slam – they reached the third round of the French Open in 2018. Their last grand slam doubles title came in 2016 at Wimbledon.

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So, what are their chances this time? If Serena’s remarkable run in the singles continues it wouldn’t be a surprise if she pulls out of the doubles to conserve energy. But make no mistake, even in their 40s, the sisters are capable of making a deep run.

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Key events

Noskova/Hradecka win the first set 7-6

Hradecka whips a backhand down the line. It’s too good and the Williams have work to do. It was a long first set – and Serena has a singles match tomorrow.

First set tiebreak: Williams/Williams 5-6 Noskova/Hradecka* (*Denotes servers)

Noskova serves. The return of Venus flies out to level the tiebreaker. Then Noskova’s superb forehand on the line gave the Czechs a set point.

First set tiebreak: *Williams/Williams 5-4 Noskova/Hradecka (*Denotes servers)

The two services of Venus now. Serena connects a solid serve with a volley. Venus then doubles the faults.

First set tiebreak: Williams/Williams 4-3 Noskova/Hradecka* (*Denotes servers)

Noskova evens things up with a backstab volley. Then the Williams win the best rally of the game to break.

First set tiebreak: *Williams/Williams 3-2 Noskova/Hradecka (*Denotes servers)

Serena earns her two service points.

First set tiebreaker: Williams/Williams 1-2 Noskova/Hradecka* (*Denotes servers)

Hradecka’s bad volley erases their break. Noskova sends an ace in response.

First set tiebreak: *Williams/Williams 0-1 Noskova/Hradecka (*Denotes servers)

The Czechs get the minibreak.

First set: Williams/Williams 6-5 Noskova/Hradecka* (*Denotes servers)

The referee, with a medium-sized towel, wipes up some sweat on the baseline. Now he has a smaller towel for more precision. This guy is meticulous, I like his style. A fine volley from Noskova makes it 30-0 as the Czechs look to force the tiebreaker. What theyre doing.

First set: *Williams/Williams 6-5 Noskova/Hradecka (*Denotes servers)

Serena holds, guaranteeing Williams at least a tiebreaker.

First set: Williams/Williams 5-5 Noskova/Hradecka* (*Denotes servers)

All Noskova needs to do now in the biggest game of her life is hold serve to save the set against two of the greatest players of all time. At 0-15, Serena has a chance to make it 0-30 with the court open but sends her long volley. Then Noskova hits an ace and we’re 30-15: awesome stuff. But a double fault makes equality and the set is in balance. And a lightning forehand then gives the set point to the Williams sisters. He is saved after a superb volley of touches from Hradecka that Venus cannot reach. The Czechs save another set point before holding. Cool nerves from Noskova.

First set: *Williams/Williams 5-4 Noskova/Hradecka (*Denotes servers)

Venus always has problems with her ball toss. In the crowd, Tracy Austin sips a refreshing drink (I guess it’s refreshing, she seemed to be enjoying it). Serena clears the ball at the net and her shot flies into the crowd. Another Serena vintage takes the game. It’s been a bit flat so far, so maybe the 23-time major (singles) champion is trying to shake things up a bit.

First set: Williams/Williams 4-4 Noskova/Hradecka* (*Denotes servers)

Hradecka has been pretty flawless so far and could end up being the difference maker in this game. A serve corkscrew into Serena’s body to clinch the match.

First set: *Williams/Williams 4-3 Noskova/Hradecka (*Denotes servers)

At 40-0, Hradecka tears up a backhand all the way: she was the best player on the pitch tonight, taking control of her young partner when she needed it. His play helps the Czechs back to two, where a fine Serena header is too good for Hradecka. The Williams hold shortly after.

First set: Williams/Williams 3-3 Noskova/Hradecka* (*Denotes servers)

Noskova is playing pretty well, considering her lack of experience. And just as I write she double faults at 40-0. Serena slipped onto the court on the second serve and that may have shaken the 17-year-old a bit. But this one is still in service.

First set: *Williams/Williams 3-2 Noskova/Hradecka (*Denotes servers)

Venus serves. The Americans take a 30-0 lead and solidify it with a punishing serve into the body that is too good for Noskova. A sweet moment for the teenager next as she trades a series of fiery forehands with Venus, just 25 years her senior. She wins the point too and we are soon tied. A double fault brings a break point to the Czechs, which Venus saves with a fine serve that Hradecka floats for a long time. Venus hits another double fault – her serve is a bit erratic today – but ultimately it’s another hold from Williams.

First set: Williams/Williams 2-2 Noskova/Hradecka* (*Denotes servers)

Coco Gauff and Jessica Pegula are the No. 2 seeds in women’s doubles. Where they WERE: They just lost to the Canadian/Australian duo of Leylah Annie Fernandez and Daria Saville. Fernandez, you may recall, reached the singles final last year.

Back on Arthur Ashe, Noskova serves and falls down the court at 30-15. She is on the ground for a few moments but quickly gets back on her feet and holds the service.

First set: *Williams/Williams 2-1 Noskova/Hradecka (*Denotes servers)

Serena’s turn to serve. And she continues her form from yesterday as the Williams head to a 40-15 lead. But a double fault brought the Czechs back and we were soon tied. But a few solid serves from Serena seal the game for the Americans.

First set: Williams/Williams 1-1 Noskova/Hradecka* (*Denotes servers)

Teenager Noskova serves first for the Czechs – youth are not afraid, etc. She flips an ace to make it 30-15, so not a bad decision overall. Another good serve helps close the match.

First set: *Williams/Williams 1-0 Nosková/Hradecká (*Denotes servers)

Nosková took a bathroom break before the game even starts. But you’d also be nervous about the Williams sisters. Anyway, Venus first serves Noskova. The experienced Hradecká volleys into the net, maybe she has the nerve too, to give the Americans a 15-0 lead. Venus has some issues with her early ball toss – it’s a calm night and the sun has set so it’s not a problem with the conditions. Regardless, they hold up pretty easily and they’re on the shelf.

Bethanie Mattek-Sands is in the ESPN booth and played the Williams sisters in doubles. She says the sisters are hall of fame players based on their doubles skills alone. Mattek-Sands also compliments Hradecká’s serve, which she considers one of the best on tour.

And the players are on the court. First came the Czech team of Linda Nosková and Lucie Hradecká at… maybe four cheers. I imagine the next pair is going to have a slightly stronger reception. But first, we get a video presentation in which we’re told the Williams are pretty good at tennis, all things considered. This is good information to know for the future.

And then they came out: Venus in white and green, and Serena in black. And, yes, there is a lot of cheering. While I wouldn’t say it’s deafening, perhaps it reflects that it’s a double and the stands are still not filled as the evening session crowd slowly creeps in. Maybe they’re still on the road watching the Mets at CitiField (the Mets beat the Dodgers 5-3 in 8th, in case you want to know. Which you probably don’t).

Williams’ opponents tonight are a mixture of youth and experience. Linda Nosková is only 17 years old and this is her very first appearance in a Grand Slam doubles tournament. She is currently ranked outside the Top 200 in doubles, although this may be due to her inexperience rather than a lack of ability. His partner, however, is a veteran of the circuit. At 37, Lucie Hradecká has been a professional for 18 years and has won two Grand Slam doubles titles, including the US Open in 2013. She may be past her prime, but she is still a Top 20 doubles player. , so this match will be no surprise for the Williams.

We talked a lot about Serena’s likely retirement after the US Open, but is this the last time we see Venus? She is, after all, the older sister and barely played last year due to injury. When she lost to Alison van Uytvanck in the first round of singles here in New York, she was asked about her future and she simply said, “Right now I’m just focusing on doubles.”

Amid Serena’s brilliance, it’s easy to forget how good Venus has been over the years. It was his 91st appearance in a major singles event, a record in the Open era. She has also won Wimbledon five times, behind only Martina Navratilova (nine), Serena (seven) and Steffi Graf (seven). Oh, and her record at Flushing Meadows isn’t bad either: she won the singles title twice in the early 2000s and the doubles title twice.

Preamble

venus and Serena Williams are now 40 and 42 respectively, so they’re not quite at the peak of their careers anymore – even though one of them has just beaten world number 2 – but in their time they were arguably the team most formidable double in history. How good is this? Their all-time Grand Slam record as a team is 125-14. In the Olympics it’s 15-1, and in the tournament finals it’s a ridiculous 22-1.

In total, they have won 14 Grand Slam titles as doubles partners (to go with their only 30 singles titles). In fact, it’s been a while since they’ve played together in a Grand Slam – they reached the French Open third round in 2018. Their last Grand Slam doubles title was in 2016 at Wimbledon.

So what are their chances this time around? If Serena’s remarkable run in singles continues, it wouldn’t be surprising if she retired from doubles to conserve her energy. But make no mistake, even in their 40s, the sisters are capable of deep running.

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