NEW YORK – A day before facing American Venus Williams — and a partisan crowd — at the U.S. Open, Italian Sara Errani came across a video posted on Twitter that gave her extra motivation.
It showed two former players and coaches, Brad Gilbert and Darren Cahill, forecasting Friday’s matches at Flushing Meadows. Both picked Williams to win.
The 13th-seeded Errani’s ears perked up particularly when Gilbert referred to her “cottage-cheese” serve and predicted she would win a mere four games.
So much for that. In a riveting third-round match of wild momentum swings, the 19th-seeded Williams, a two-time U.S. Open champion, was two points from victory four times before losing to the 27-year-old Errani 6-0, 0-6, 7-6 (7-5).
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Errani was interviewed for TV by Cahill before the match, and by Gilbert afterward.
“Let’s just say that during the match I thought about that (video) more than once,” Errani said.
Williams is 34, dealing with an autoimmune disease and hasn’t been to the fourth round at a major since 2011. She also played a doubles match Thursday with her sister, top-ranked Serena, that lasted about 2½ hours.
“I guess the schedule definitely wasn’t ideal,” Williams said.
Errani’s next opponent will be 32-year-old qualifier Mirjana Lucic-Baroni of Croatia, who eliminated second-seeded Simona Halep of Romania 7-6 (7-6), 6-2.
Half of the top eight seeded women are out, with Halep joining No. 6 Angelique Kerber of Germany (beaten 6-1, 7-5 Friday by Swiss 17-year-old Belinda Bencic), and earlier losers No. 4 Agnieszka Radwanska and No. 8 Ana Ivanovic.
• There have been fewer surprises in the men’s draw.
No. 2 Roger Federer’s 6-4, 6-4, 6-4 victory over Sam Groth closed the second round with two top-20 men ousted: No. 11 Ernests Gulbis and No. 15 Fabio Fognini, both eliminated Friday.
• Brier native Jacqueline Cako, 22, and mixed-doubles partner Joel Kielbowicz, 31, who is from Grosse Pointe, Mich., lost 7-5, 6-3 in the first round to Donald Young and Taylor Townsend. Cako played college tennis at Arizona State.