CINCINNATI, Ohio (REUTERS) - Ninth seed Venus Williams was upset 6-3 2-6 6-2 by Australian qualifier Ashleigh Barty in the second round of the Cincinnati Open on Wednesday (Aug 16), hampering the American's US Open preparations.
Williams, the runner-up at the Australian Open and Wimbledon this year, fell behind 4-1 in the decisive set after dropping serve in the third and fifth games.
After grabbing control of the match, the 21-year-old Barty showed plenty of poise and served out to love in the final game to close out the contest in one hour and 50 minutes.
The Australian had captured the first set on her fourth set point when she drove a stinging forehand to the back corner of the court that Williams had no chance to reach, but then put up little fight in the second set.
Barty will face either former world number one Caroline Wozniacki or Russia's Elena Vesnina in the round of 16.
American 16th seed Madison Keys beat Russian Daria Kasatkina 6-2 6-1 to reach the last 16, where she will face fourth-seeded Wimbledon champion Garbine Muguruza of Spain.
Eighth-seeded Russian Svetlana Kuznetsova also reached the third round with a 6-3 6-4 win over Kazakhstan's Yulia Putintseva to set up a showdown against Spain's Carla Suarez Navarro, who advanced with a 6-2 6-2 win over Serbian Aleksandra Krunic.