Venus Williams beaten at U.S. Open

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Venus Williams beaten at U.S. Open


Venus Williams returns a shot to Jie Zheng during the second round of the U.S. Open, Wednesday. [AP/NEWSIS]

NEW YORK - Venus Williams was sent packing from the U.S. Open on Wednesday after her sister Serena’s center court clash was among dozens of matches postponed because of rain on a gloomy third day at the last Grand Slam of the year.

About four hours of play were washed out, forcing tournament officials to drastically revise the schedule so Andy Murray could finally begin his title defense.

The foul weather could not save Venus from suffering her third successive second-round defeat at the U.S. National Tennis Center.

Once the undisputed queen of Flushing Meadows, the 33-year-old American, the second-oldest player in the women’s singles draw, continues to struggle.

On Wednesday, she was beaten, 6-3, 2-6, 7-6(5) by China’s Zheng Jie after the pair slugged it out for more than three hours.

She provided a reminder of her fighting qualities as she pushed the match into a deciding tiebreak but ultimately came up just short.

“I just dug myself into so many holes the whole match,” she said. “I just fought as hard as I could to get out of them, but sometimes it wasn’t enough.”

Two other former champions, Argentina’s Juan Martin del Potro and Australia’s Lleyton Hewitt, fared better, winning tough four-set battles to set up a second-round clash.

Del Potro, the winner in 2009, beat Guillermo Garcia-Lopez of Spain, 6-3, 6-7(5), 6-4, 7-6(7) on the Arthur Ashe Stadium centre court while Hewitt, who won in 2001, wore down American qualifier Brian Baker, 6-3, 4-6, 6-3, 6-4.

In the women’s draw, Poland’s Agnieszka Radwanska, the third seed, easily defeated Maria-Teresa Torro Flor of Spain, 6-0, 7-5, while China’s Li Na beat the rain to dispose of Sweden’s Sofia Arvidsson, 6-2, 6-2.

“I was a little bit happy because at least I’ve done my job today,” said Li.

Only five matches were completed in the morning before the rain arrived, sending players and spectators scampering for cover.

In the men’s event, Andy Murray was not happy about having to wait until Wednesday night to open defence of his U.S. Open title, but the Briton was quite pleased with the result after delivering a masterly thrashing of Michael Llodra.

Wimbledon champion Murray, whose starting time was further delayed after four hours of rain delays, had stalled proceedings at Flushing Meadows, raced through an entertaining 6-2 6-4 6-3, 98-minute drubbing of the 49th-ranked Frenchman on centre court.

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