NEW YORK – Serena Williams survived a second-round scare at the U.S. Open on Wednesday with a 5-7 6-3 6-1 win over American wildcard Catherine McNally to keep alive her hopes of securing a record-tying 24th Grand Slam title.
World number eight Williams, who captured the first of her six U.S. Open titles two years before her 17-year-old opponent was born, spent the first half of the match trying to find her rhythm but when she did she was off to the races.
“She really came out and played really well, she showed no fear,” said Williams. “She had absolutely nothing to lose and she played like it.”
McNally, competing in only her sixth tour-level event of her career and against the highest-ranked player she has ever faced, used an old-school serve-and-volley approach along with a lethal slice backhand to unsettle Williams.
So effective was McNally, who has tried to model parts of her game after Swiss great Roger Federer, that at one point in the match Williams screamed at her racquet “why are you missing?”