12:05 AM ET

  • ESPN News Services

NEW YORK — Serena Williams has avoided what would have been her earliest loss in 19 appearances at the US Open.

Caty McNally 5-7, 6-3, 6-1 on Wednesday night.

Williams didn’t drop a single point on her serve in the decisive third set and won 24 of the 29 total points played. She did not face a break point over the final two sets.

“I want to be able to win matches where I’m not playing my best and then play players who are playing great and be able to come through, and I need to be tested, I guess,” Williams said. “Honestly, I’d rather not be tested and win every match. That doesn’t happen, so it’s important for me to have those really rough, rowdy matches — that helps a lot.”



Serena Williams rallies back to defeat Catherine McNally, and expresses how tired she is and the mistakes she made during her post-match interview.

The only time Williams has been beaten as early as even the third round in New York was in her tournament debut all way back in 1998 — when she was just 16 herself.

The following year, Williams won the first of her six US Open championships. McNally hadn’t even been born yet.

ESPN Stats & Information and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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