Serena and Venus Williams lost in the opening doubles round of the US Open on Thursday night — ending the younger sister’s doubles career, and marking Venus’ exit from the tournament.
The pair lost to Lucie Hradecka and Linda Noskova of the Czech Republic 7-6 (5), 6-4 at Arthur Ashe Stadium.
Ashe had never hosted a first-round doubles match, for women or men, until this one featuring two American sisters who have combined to claim 14 Grand Slam titles in doubles. They were partnering for the first time since the 2018 French Open.
This was their fourth first-round doubles defeat at a Grand Slam tournament; the most recent had been at the 2013 French Open.
As usual when playing together, they traded fist bumps or palm slaps and chatted between points; they smiled while conversing in their seats at changeovers.
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When the match ended, the sisters hugged each other, and left the court to a standing ovation.
An announced sellout crowd of 23,859 showed up, just like for each of Serena’s two victories in singles so far this week.
While Venus Williams lost in the first round of singles, Serena, 40, is still alive in the single’s tournament which will be the last competitive effort of her career. She will play Australia’s Ajla Tomljanović on Friday night at Arthur Ashe.