Aug. 29 (UPI) -- All-time tennis great Serena Williams escaped an upset at the hands of 17-year-old Caty McNally after dropping her first set in a second round match at the 2019 U.S. Open Wednesday night.
Williams trailed 7-5 entering the second set at Arthur Ashe Stadium in Queens. She finished the match by winning 6-3, 6-1 down the stretch, securing a third-round matchup against Karolina Muchova or Hsieh Su-wei Saturday at Flushing Meadows.
McNally -- a Cincinnati, Ohio native -- beat Timea Bacsinszky of Switzerland in straight sets Monday to advance to the second round. The match against Williams was just her third career appearance in a Grand Slam. McNally lost in the first round at Wimbledon. She earned a wildcard entry into the 2019 U.S. Open.
"It was definitely something to get used to, players like her who have such full games," Williams told reporters. "I just think she overall played really well."
Williams played a mistake-filled first and second set. The 23-time Grand Slam champion had 28 unforced errors in the 1:54 match. She had 15 unforced errors in the first set and 11 unforced errors in the second set. Williams also fired 32 winners and 10 aces in the victory.
"I just had to stop making errors," Williams said. "I made so many errors in the first two sets. It was just too many. You can't win many tournaments making that many errors," Williams said. "I knew I had to play better."
Williams swept through the first game of the match with ease before McNally fought back to tie the opening set. Williams and McNally battled and exchanged game victories until McNally won the final three games to take the first set. The women's players battled to a 2-2 tie in the second set before Williams won three consecutive games to take a 5-2 lead in the set. McNally won the eighth game of the second set before Williams won the ninth to win the set 6-3.
Williams took a commanding 4-0 lead in the third and final set. She eventually snatched the set and the match with a forehand winner.
"That was unbelievable," McNally said. "I thought I came out really strong and I felt really good on the big stage. I wasn't too nervous. First set was unbelievable tennis. I played really well and served really solid and was playing my game. In the second and third set she obviously picked up her level.
"That was pretty tough for me."