NEW YORK — The main attraction on the grounds of the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center going into Friday night was, undoubtedly, another matchup of the Williams sisters, two of the greats of all time in the sport. As it turned out, another tennis great almost made headlines immediately before the sisters were to take the court with what would have been a surprising early exit.
Rafael Nadal, the top seed in the men’s draw, was stretched beyond what almost any expert would have predicted before coming through to defeat No. 27 Karen Khachanov 5-7, 7-5, 7-6 (7), 7-6 (3) in four hours and 23 minutes.
After that thrilling appetizer came the main course, the 30th meeting between VEnus and Serena on the WTA Tour and the sixth such meeting at the US Open. Serena was all business on Friday night, dispatching her big sister 6-1, 6-2 to head into the Round of 16. During the third game of the match, Serena rolled her right ankle when trying to plant her foot to change direction on a shot hit behind her and, subsequently, received medical attention during the changeover. If anything, Serena’s level of play rose afterward, winning 10 of the final 12 games of the match.
Serena now leads the all-time series against Venus, 18-12.
*Editor’s note: Above the byline is the photo gallery from Thursday’s Day 3 action, with all photos taken by our senior photographer, Robert Cole. After clicking on the first photo to enlarge the picture, make sure to press the left and right arrow buttons to scroll through the rest of the pictures. There are currently 32 pictures in total.