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Stephens and Venus Williams advance to third round of the U.S. Open

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U.S. Open defending champion Sloane Stephens overcame the heat, a blister and a great performance from Ukrainian Anhelina Kalinina to qualify for Wednesday’s third round with a 4-6, 7-5, 6-2 win.

The local tennis player connected an ace to seal her victory in two hours and 46 minutes of play at the Arthur Ashe Stadium.

“I didn’t play my best game,” said the 25-year-old tennis player. “It was very, very hot and not pleasant at all.”

In the next round, Stephens will play against former world number one Victoria Azarenka. The Belarusian beat the Australian Daria Gavrilova 6-1 and 6-2.

Meanwhile, Venus Williams defeated Italy’s Camila Giorgi 6-4 and 7-5 and in the third round could clash with her younger sister Serena.

The pre-qualified 16, champions in New York in 2000 and 2001, beat her opponent solidly in the first half, but in the second half seemed to lose some power, something that eventually did not prevent her from winning the match.