Venus Williams has pulled out of the US Open with an unspecified illness, the referee’s office announced. Williams was scheduled to play German Sabine Lisicki in the third match on Arthur Ashe Stadium on Wednesday, but pulled out while the second match between Andy Murray and Somdev Devvarman was going on.
She has been diagnosed with Sjogren’s Syndrome, an autoimmune disease that causes fatigue and joint pain. According to the Sjogren’s Syndrome Foundation website, the disease is a chronic autoimmune illness in which people’s white blood cells attack their moisture-producing glands. Common symptoms include dry eyes and dry mouth. As many as 4 million Americans have the disease.
Christina McHale, 19, upset No. 8 Marion Bartoli 7-6 (2), 6-2 to advance to the third round of a Grand Slam tournament for the first time in her soaring career, at her favorite tournament, the US Open. McHale is from nearby Englewood Cliffs, N.J. and trains year-round at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center, the home of the US Open. The crowd was considerably in McHale’s favor in her first two matches, including a bunch of family members who still find it extremely exciting to see the 19-year-old on the big stage. They will become more and more used to it, however, as McHale has taken her game to another level this year and surged up the WTA rankings to a career-high No. 55, and hopes to keep her US Open run going. “It is still weird and exciting for them and for me,” McHale said of her family watching her play in the US Open. “It is still super exciting to be here. It is so nice, after a long day, I can go to my own bed, wake up and have breakfast at my house. I am enjoying it so far and hopefully I can keep it going.” McHale earned her first career Grand Slam main draw victory at the 2009 US Open, defeating Polona Hercog in the opening round, earning her a night match in Arthur Ashe Stadium against Maria Sharapova. But now has played in the main draw of all four Grand Slams in the same year for the first time in her career and this is surely just the first year of many. As she moved up the WTA rankings, she was able to enter more tournaments and credits the increased match experience, as well as increased strength, as reasons for the improvement in her game. “I feel like I am playing well, I have played a lot of matches, I am feeling match ready and excited to be in the next round,” she said. “I have more experience now. I think that is the biggest thing. The nerves are still there but I am getting better at handling it.”