Muchova sends Venus to first opening-round loss at U.S. Open

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Karolina Muchova took advantage of an error-prone Venus Williams to advance 6-3 7-5 into the second round of the U.S. Open on Tuesday and hand the two-time champion her first opening-round loss at the tournament.

Slideshow ( 5 images )

Muchova broke Williams to start the match and deployed a wide variety of shotmaking including a pinpoint serve, a slice backhand and some well-timed trips to the net to frustrate the former world number one.

Williams was sharper at the outset of the second set and served at 5-4 with the chance to extend the match to a third, but a backhand sailed on break point and Muchova leveled at 5-5.

The 24-year-old Czech held at love the next game and sealed the win when Williams issued her third double fault on match point.

“From the start I tried to be relaxed and get to my game but it was tough to get into a rhythm because we were having very short rallies,” said Muchova, who hit 27 winners and saved six of her eight break points.

“I was happy I was able to turn it on in the end.”

Williams was 21-0 in opening-round matches at the U.S. Open coming into Tuesday but the seven-times Grand Slam champion was undone by 34 unforced errors at Arthur Ashe Stadium, where her sister Serena looked on from the largely empty stands.

Related Coverage

Despite the disappointment, the 40-year-old Williams, who turned professional at 14, said she was still passionate about the sport.

“I love this game,” she said.

“I’m good at what I do. It’s easy to stay motivated and excited about doing something so amazing. Not many people get to do this.”

Next up for the 20th-seeded Muchova is Russian Anna Kalinskaya, who defeated Nina Stojanovic of Serbia in straight sets earlier in the day.

Reporting by Rory Carroll in Los Angeles; Editing by Peter Rutherford