US Open: Nadal, Venus advance at U.S. OpenVenus Williams moved on, Rafael Nadal came back and Marat Safin said goodbye at the U.S. Open on Wednesday. Her left knee heavily wrapped, the third-seeded Williams defeated Bethanie Mattek-Sands 6-4, 6-2, in a less taxing match than she had two nights
NEW YORK (AP) — Venus Williams moved on, Rafael Nadal came back and Marat Safin said goodbye at the U.S. Open on Wednesday.
Her left knee heavily wrapped, the third-seeded Williams defeated Bethanie Mattek-Sands 6-4, 6-2, in a less taxing match than she had two nights earlier when she fell behind a set before rallying against Vera Dushevina.
Nadal, whose knees kept him out of Wimbledon, returned to Grand Slam play with a 6-2, 6-2, 6-3 win over Richard Gasquet, while Safin, a former world No. 1, closed out his Grand Slam career, losing to Jurgen Melzer 1-6, 6-4, 6-3, 6-4.
Williams hurt her knee in the first set of the opener, and the heavy tape she wore for the second round confirmed the injury was more than just a tweak. But the two-time U.S. Open champ, who fielded no fewer than a dozen questions about her health in the postmatch interview, insisted she wouldn’t use it as an excuse.
“I’m still playing well and I feel I’ll continue to play better as the rounds go on,” she said. “I’m trying not to make this injury a factor at all.”
She said she had no plans to pull out of the doubles with her sister, Serena, where they are trying to add the U.S. Open to their Australian and Wimbledon titles this year.
“My mentality for doubles is, it’s a major title and I love winning majors,” Venus said. “It’s not a decision I take lightly. I’m going to do my best to be able to prepare.”
Nadal, the No. 3 seed, showed very little rust after missing most of the summer with tendinitis in his knees. He ripped through Gasquet — also on the comeback after a 2½-month drug suspension — and answered any questions about his mobility by easily getting to a pair of drop shots en route to a decisive break in the eighth game of the third set.
“I don’t have pain, so I don’t think about it,” Nadal said.
While Williams and Nadal keep playing, Safin’s Grand Slam career is over.
It ends with two Grand Slam titles, a smaller number than many experts thought possible when he broke through by beating Pete Sampras in the 2000 U.S. Open final.
“That match was a miracle for me,” Safin said. “It took some time for me to see how big this thing was. It was difficult because I was also 20 years old, I wasn’t ready for this. It was difficult to understand it.”