Flushing Meadows, NY (Sports Network) - Seven-time major titlist and two-time U.S. Open champion Venus Williams was ousted from the final Grand Slam event of the season after falling to China's Zheng Jie on a rainy Wednesday.
Zheng came through for a 6-3, 2-6, 7-6 (7-5) second-round victory in a match that lasted more than three hours.
"I want to say sorry guys," Zheng said, referring to Williams not having a chance for her third title in Flushing Meadows before the home crowd. "Today was a tough match for me. In the second set she was playing so great and in the final set we were fighting each other."
Several women's matches scheduled for Wednesday were pushed back a day due to the wet weather. Among those included in the postponements was world No. 1 and defending champion Serena Williams. Her second-round match against Kazakhstan's Galina Voskoboeva was postponed until Thursday.
Third seed Agnieszka Radwanska and fifth-seeded Li Na were a pair of winners.
Venus, whose match started late afternoon and lasted into the night at Louis Armstrong Stadium, was delayed a couple of minutes with the third set even, 5-5, due to drizzling conditions.
The American rallied from a 4-1 deficit in the tiebreaker, but was set back due to 44 unforced errors. She equaled the tiebreaker, 5-5, when Zheng sent a return long. Venus then tried a backhand at the net, but never got it over. Zheng secured a third-round berth when Venus sent a backhand wide.
"Today was tough," Zheng said of the rain. "In the second set I lost my concentration. She played so great."
Next up for Zheng will be 18th-seeded Spaniard Carla Suarez Navarro, who dropped American Coco Vandeweghe 6-3, 6-4.
Meanwhile, last year's Wimbledon runner-up Radwanska, of Poland, got past Spaniard Maria-Teresa Torro-Flor 6-0, 7-5 at Armstrong Stadium, while this year's Australian Open runner-up and the former French Open champion Li, of China, handled Swede Sofia Arvidsson 6-2, 6-2 at Ashe Stadium at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. Radwanska will meet Russian Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova on Friday.
Li was happy to beat the rain on Day 3.
"It's tough for them," she said, referring to all the players who still had singles matches to complete. "For me, just relax all day and do whatever I want."
American Sloane Stephens, the 15th seed, upended Poland's Urszula Radwanska, 6-1, 6-1; and another American, No. 23 seed Jamie Hampton, got by France's Kristina Mladenovic, 7-5, 6-4.
Also Wednesday, No. 30 seed Laura Robson of Great Britain beat France's Caroline Garcia, 6-4, 7-6 (7-5); and a 32nd-seeded Pavlyuchenkova eased past Aussie Ashleigh Barty 6-4, 6-0. Li will face Robson in the third round.
The 16-time Grand Slam champion Serena is a four-time U.S. Open champ and two-time runner-up. She beat Victoria Azarenka in last year's final in Flushing and is also the reigning French Open champ.
In addition to Serena's match against Voskoboeva, officials also postponed matches involving No. 8 seed Angelique Kerber, No. 9 Jelena Jankovic and No. 25 Kaia Kanepi. Jankovic is a former No. 1 who lost to Serena in the 2008 U.S. Open finale.