Tuesday, February 20, 2018
Sports

Another major Serena mark

NEW YORK — Serena Williams tied Martina Navratilova's professional-era women's record with her 306th career victory in a Grand Slam match, beating unseeded Vania King 6-3, 6-3 to reach the U.S. Open's third round Thursday night.

Hitting 13 aces with the roof closed at Arthur Ashe Stadium, Williams improved to 306-42 in matches at major tournaments, a winning percentage of .879.

Only Roger Federer, with 307, has won more Grand Slam matches than Williams and Navratilova in the Open era, which dates to 1968.

Williams, the top seed, can match Federer's total by beating 47th-ranked Johanna Larsson on Saturday.

Because of rain that lasted most of the day, action was limited until the early evening. Arthur Ashe, the main stadium, is the only court with a roof, which is being used for the first time this year.

Other winners included Serena's sister Venus Williams, the sixth seed, who beat unseeded Julia Goerges 6-2, 6-3, and No. 5 Simona Halep, who eliminated unseeded Lucie Safarova 6-3, 6-4 in the first contest played entirely with the roof closed (it was shut for the first time during a match midway through Rafael Nadal's victory Wednesday).

On the men's side, the closed roof gave Andy Murray some problems in his 6-4, 6-1, 6-4 second-round victory over unseeded Marcel Granollers.

Murray, seeded second, said he couldn't pick up the usual sounds of a tennis match with the roof closed because of heavy rain in the afternoon. The $150 million retractable cover makes the main stadium louder because the structure, even when open, traps the sounds of spectators chatting in the stands. When the roof is shut, the roof amplifies all that ambient noise.

And when the rain came down early in Murray's second set, it was as loud as could be. "You can't hear anything, really," said Murray, the 2012 U.S. Open champion. "I mean, you could hear the line calls. But that was about it. … We use our ears when we play. (The sound) helps us pick up the speed of the ball, the spin that's on the ball, how hard someone's hitting it."

Three players fined: Bernard Tomic was fined $10,000 by the U.S. Open for a vulgar comment directed at a spectator during his first-round loss, and Johnson and Fabio Fognini were fined $3,000 apiece for unsportsmanlike conduct. Johnson was fined for "abuse of rackets and equipment." Fognini was given a point penalty for removing a line judge's sunglasses during a match he won Tuesday.

Wall-jumper arrested: A man was arrested after he jumped over a wall surrounding a court at the end of a match late Wednesday, the U.S. Tennis Association said. The man got onto Court 13 after Kateryna Bondarenko's 5-7, 7-6 (7-5), 7-5 victory over Zheng Saisai, the court's last match for the day, spokesman Chris Widmaier said. Neither player was harmed. The unidentified man was charged with interference in a sporting event and issued a 10-year no trespassing order by the USTA, Widmaier said.

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