NEW YORK » Venus Williams outlasted a pesky bee, with the help of three attendants, before putting away 43-year-old Kimiko Date-Krumm 2-6, 6-3, 6-3 Monday in the first round of the U.S. Open.
The prematch buzz was all about the ages of the players — at a combined 77, it was believed to be the oldest for opponents in a women’s Grand Slam pairing, the WTA said.
Then with the 19th-seeded Williams ahead 3-0 in the final set, an insect caused quite a stir. The bee flew close to Williams as she prepared to serve, and the two-time U.S. Open champion tried to gently shoo it away with her racket.
Williams spent more than a minute, moving from sideline to sideline, as she waved her hand and blew at the bee. Even when shouted "smash it!", Williams refused to take a swing.
Eventually, two ball persons and a helper came out with towels and corraled the bee and carried it off.