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U.S. Open: Venus Williams struggles early, dominates late [Updated]

September 1, 2010 |  2:26 pm

Venus Williams wore a tiny, slitted black skirt and a swirly white-and-black halter top, her new U.S. Open daytime outfit, and for a portion of her second-round match Wednesday against Rebecca Marino of Luxembourg, a 19-year-old playing in her first major tournament, it seemed Williams might not get to wear the outfit a second time.

[For the record, 2:38 p.m.: A earlier version of this post stated that Marino is Canadian. She is from Luxembourg.]

"Every time I had an opening, she'd hit a big serve," Williams said of Marino's play, especially in the first set.

Williams, 30, was being overpowered by the hard-hitting Marino and trailed 3-1 in the first-set tiebreak before Williams tucked in a bothersome strap on her new clothes, adjusted to the swirling wind that was bothering her service toss and countered Marino's power with more of her own to advance to the third round with a 7-6 (3), 6-3 win.

Next up for Williams, who won back-to-back Opens in 2000 and 2001 but not another since, is Belgian qualifier Mandy Minella, who upset 32nd-seeded Tsvetana Pironkova. Pironkova had upset Williams in the quarterfinals of Wimbledon earlier this summer.

-- Diane Pucin in New York

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