Cookie consent

We use cookies to improve your experience on this website. By continuing to browse our site you agree to our use of cookies. Tell me more | Cookie preferences

Venus Williams bows out at U.S. Open

Venus Williams won the women's singles title at Flushing Meadows in 2000 and 2001.

Story highlights

  • Venus Williams losing in the first round of the U.S. Open
  • The two-time champion beaten in three sets by China's Zheng Jie
  • U.S. 15th seed Sloane Stephens breezes beyond Urszula Radwanska
  • Defending champion Andy Murray begins his campaign with a straight-sets win

Two-time champion Venus Williams is out of the U.S. Open following a battling 6-3 2-6 7-6 (7-5) second-round defeat to world No. 56 Zheng Jie.

Former world No. 1 Williams, currently ranked 60th, fought bravely against her Chinese opponent before eventually losing in three hours and two minutes.

The marathon encounter was the joint fifth-longest women's singles match in the tournament's history.

In recent years Williams has struggled with form and fitness and entered the New York tournament with a back injury. She was diagnosed with the auto-immune disorder Sjogren's Syndrome at Flushing Meadows two years ago.

Read: Is Roger Federer's legacy vulnerable?

"I think there's a lot of positives for me out of this tournament. I continue to serve better and recover [from] my back injury with each tournament," the 33-year-old told the event's official website.

'Golden Bear' on tennis love

    Just Watched

    'Golden Bear' on tennis love

'Golden Bear' on tennis love 03:10
PLAY VIDEO
Andy Murray wins Wimbledon men's final

    Just Watched

    Andy Murray wins Wimbledon men's final

Andy Murray wins Wimbledon men's final 01:53
PLAY VIDEO

"I'll just continue to step up and give myself chances. A lot of times I'm putting myself in a good position but not always capitalizing. So I'll get there. I just have to keep working at it."

Williams' compatriot Sloane Stephens is at the opposite end of her career and the 15th seed continued her rise to prominence with a commanding 6-1 6-1 defeat of Poland's Urszula Radwanska.

Read: Why women "owe" Billie Jean King?

"I came out with a really good attitude and I think it showed," said the 20-year-old, who plays fellow American and 23rd seed Jamie Hampton in the second round.

"I think every point was the only thing on my mind. That's what happens when you really, really, really want to win."

Third seed Agnieszka Radwanska, Urszula's older sister, fared better than her sibling, beating 103-ranked Spaniard Maria-Teresa Torro-Flor 6-0 7-5.

In the men's draw defending champion Andy Murray made light work of his first-round match with Frenchman Michael Llodra.

Tennis stars help Sandy victims

    Just Watched

    Tennis stars help Sandy victims

Tennis stars help Sandy victims 02:13
PLAY VIDEO
Serena Williams faces test in U.S. Open

    Just Watched

    Serena Williams faces test in U.S. Open

Serena Williams faces test in U.S. Open 02:35
PLAY VIDEO

The 2013 Wimbledon winner, seeded third, secured a 6-2 6-4 6-3 win to set up a tie with Argentina's Leandro Mayer.

"I felt comfortable before the match. I didn't feel any extra pressure, which was good," said Murray, who is defending a grand slam title for the first time.

"I was just ready to play... There were no of unknowns out there on the court. I've played many matches there ... I didn't feel loads of nerves before the match. I just wanted to get on."

American veteran James Blake bid farewell to his home grand slam with an agonizing five-set loss against Croatia's Ivo Karlovic.

The 33-year-old Blake announced on Monday this would be his last tournament, bringing the curtain down on a 14-year professional career.

Two past champions will meet in the second round after both Juan Martin del Potro and Lleyton Hewitt chalked up opening victories.

Sixth seed Del Potro saw off spirited opposition in the shape of Spain's Guillermo Garcia-Lopez, while former world No. 1 Hewitt beat U.S. wildcard Brian Baker.

      Tennis

    • Rafael Nadal of Spain watches the ball in his match against Martin Klizan of Slovakia during during day seven of the China Open at the National Tennis Center on October 3, 2014 in Beijing, China.

      Rafael Nadal's body might be giving him a few problems, but his mind remains as strong as ever. Will the Spaniard add to his haul of 14 grand slam titles?
    • LONDON, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 17: Wimbledon champion Andy Murray and his long time girlfriend Kim Sears arrive at Buckingham Palace on October 17, in London, England. Murray will become an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) and receive his medal from the Duke of Cambridge. (Photo by John Stillwell - WPA Pool/Getty Images)

      The Scot has served up a few changes to his support team in 2014 but there's one person who isn't going anywhere -- his new fiancée Kim Sears.
    • Despite being forced to retire at the age of 24 due to health problems, Lacoste remained in the game and went on start the "Lacoste" brand in 1933, which specialised in tennis products. The inspiration for the company's logo came from his nickname as a player, "le crocodile."

      His distinctive crocodile logo is seen on clothing all over the world, but Rene Lacoste also left a lasting legacy in the development of tennis.
    • Serena Williams of the US holds the US Open trophy after defeating Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark during their US Open 2014 women's singles finals match at the USTA Billie Jean King National Center September 7, 2014 in New York. AFP PHOTO/Stan HONDA (Photo credit should read STAN HONDA/AFP/Getty Images)

      Serena Williams is without peer in the modern women's game and now she is on a par with two American tennis legends from the past.
    • American tennis player and golfer Althea Gibson (right) receives a kiss from compatriot Darlene Hard, whom she beat in two sets to become the first black woman to win the Women's Singles Finals at Wimbledon.

      Over the course of her remarkable life, Althea Gibson was many things to many people -- but it was tennis where she really left her mark.
    • "I didn't cry once when I practiced in front of the mirror," says Martin Emmrich. But the nerves kicked in when he got down on one knee on court.
    • LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - JULY 03: Tennis / Frauen: Wimbledon 2004, London; Finale; Siegerin Maria SHARAPOVA / RUS 03.07.04. (Photo by Bongarts/Bongarts/Getty Images)

      It's 10 years since a teenage Maria Sharapova became the darling of Wimbledon's hallowed Center Court, launching herself as a star.
    • Five-time grand slam champion Martina Hingis has followed her mom into a coaching role, setting up a new tennis academy in Barcelona, Spain.