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Serena, Venus Williams knocked out of doubles’ play at US Open

Serena Williams and her sister Venus were defeated in the first round of the US Open, so there won’t be a final grand slam doubles title for them.

Four years after their final grand slam performance as a team and six years after winning the most recent of their 14 titles, the sisters made the decision to give it one last try.

But the old magic was not quite there and they fell to a 6(5)-7 4-6 loss to the Czech duo of 37-year-old Lucie Hradecka and 17-year-old Linda Noskova.

The match was surely the first opening-round doubles contest ever to begin a night session on Arthur Ashe Stadium. It had seemed that this might be Serena and Venus’s final match when it was revealed that they would be playing doubles.

But her success in singles gave this contest a slightly different complexion.

The competitive desire was very much there, and Serena again looked sharp both from the back of the court and at the net.

But Hradecka and Noskova hung on and then seized their chance in the tie-break, Hradecka threading a fine pass down the line on set-point to virtual silence.

She was emerging as the key player against her fellow veterans.

Although Serena and Venus retrieved an early break to get back to 4-4, a break of the Serena serve settled the contest.

Serena will now concentrate solely on trying to extend her final tournament in singles, where she will take on Australia’s Ajla Tomljanovic in the third round on Friday.

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