Serena Williams shakes off struggles to advance at U.S. Open

Serena Williams returns a shot during her third-round match against Karolina Muchova at the U.S. Open on Friday.
(Getty Images)

Serena Williams continued her quest for a record-tying 24th Grand Slam tournament singles title when she overcame her erratic serving to subdue Karolina Muchova of the Czech Republic 6-3, 6-2 in a third-round match played under sunny skies Friday at Arthur Ashe Stadium.

Williams, who grew up in Compton and won the first of her six U.S. Open singles titles here 20 years ago, will next face the winner of the third-round match between Petra Martic of Croatia and Anastasija Sevastova of Latvia.

Williams, seeded No. 8, committed seven double faults, including two in the fifth game of the second set. Those mistakes helped Muchova, who is ranked 44th in the world, cut Williams’ lead to 3-2. But Williams, who will turn 38 in a few weeks, won the next three games to close out the match, earning a loud ovation from fans who had steadily supported her throughout the match.


Williams played her first two matches at night but said during an on-court interview Friday she was glad to play earlier. “I actually prefer playing in the day because I actually get to home and see my baby,” she said of her daughter, Olympia, who will turn 2 years old on Sunday. They pray and read together, Williams said, and playing at night robs her of those precious moments.

Williams has reached the finals of three Grand Slam events since she returned to competition following Olympia’s birth but lost all three. Margaret Court holds the career record of 24 singles titles in Grand Slam events.

Asked to grade her performance, Williams said she had not had time to assess the match. But Williams said she played with a lot of intensity and gave the crowd “an A-plus” for its support.