Serena Williams wins second spherical match of US Open after beating world No. 2


After it was throughout — after she’d received an exciting second-round match, then did a kind of iconic Serena twirls on the Arthur Ashe Stadium courtroom earlier than beaming as a tribute video from Oprah Winfrey performed but once more – Serena Williams was requested if she was stunned at her degree of play.

A 40-year-old underdog within the last days of her storied profession, Williams had simply upset the world’s second-ranked participant, a US Open end result that appeared uncertain till it turned inevitable.

So … Serena, have been you stunned?

Williams chuckled as cheers washed over the courtroom.

“I mean, I’m just Serena,” she stated.

Williams, taking part in what might be the final event of her profession, received Wednesday night, downing Anett Kontaveit 7-6 (4) 2-6 6-2 in New York.

Williams regarded higher than in earlier matches this 12 months, the place she was nonetheless making an attempt to shake the rust of an extended layoff.

In Kontaveit, nonetheless, Williams confronted a a lot sterner check and was undoubtedly the underdog on paper.

“After I lost the second set, I thought, ‘Oh, my goodness, I got to give my best effort because this could be it,’” Williams advised ESPN in an on-court, post-match interview.

A boisterous however behaved crowd cheered her each level.

She referred to the lengthy layoff in her interview Wednesday however stated, “I love a challenge.”

“I don’t have anything to prove. I don’t have anything to win. And I have absolutely nothing to lose,” she stated.

Williams will subsequent face Australia’s Ajla Tomljanovic within the third spherical. Tomljanovic, who was taking part in similtaneously Williams on Wednesday, defeated Russian Evgeniya Rodina 1-6, 6-2, 7-5.

And Williams isn’t taking part in simply singles; she’s going to open doubles play together with her sister Venus Williams on Thursday night time.

“I need more matches,” she advised ESPN. “I love rising to the challenge. Yeah, I haven’t played many matches, but I’ve been practicing really well. In my last few matches, it just wasn’t coming together. I’m like, ‘This isn’t me.’”

Issues have modified since she began taking part in on the Open, she stated.

She started singles play Monday with a 6-3 6-3 victory over Danka Kovinić of Montenegro. It was Williams’ third match since saying in Vogue journal she’s going to “evolve away from tennis” after the US Open.

“I have never liked the word retirement. It doesn’t feel like a modern word to me. I’ve been thinking of this as a transition, but I want to be sensitive about how I use that word, which means something very specific and important to a community of people,” Williams stated within the Vogue article printed earlier this month.

“Maybe the best word to describe what I’m up to is evolution. I’m here to tell you that I’m evolving away from tennis, toward other things that are important to me,” she stated.

At her post-match information convention Monday, Williams was requested if that is undoubtedly her final event.

“Yeah, I’ve been pretty vague about it, right?” she stated with a smile. “I’m going to stay vague because you never know.”

The opening-round win over Kovinić was the perfect Williams had regarded since making her comeback from damage. She has managed to win only one match since returning to the circuit in June and was unable to get near the shape that helped her win her final grand slam title in 2017.

However Kontaveit, who had stated she was excited to play towards Williams, encountered a participant who confirmed no indicators of eager to hasten her retirement.

“I think she played really well,” stated the Estonian through the post-match information convention. “I mean, I thought I didn’t play a bad match at all.”

After the gamers cut up the primary two units, Williams stepped up her play for the decider, Kontaveit stated.

“She really switched it on from there,” she stated. “There’s a few points here and there where I feel like I could have done better on my serve maybe. I mean, she was returning better. She was playing the rallies better. I felt like she did everything a little bit better in the third set.”

The passionate pro-Williams crowd was additionally a problem, Kontveit added.

“I mean, I think they were not rooting like against me. They just wanted Serena to win so bad,” she stated. “So, I mean, I don’t think it’s a personal attack against me or anything. I mean, it’s fair. I mean, she deserves this, yeah.”

See how Serena Williams turned one of many all-time greats

One of many best tennis gamers ever, Williams has received 23 grand slam singles titles and has received the US Open six instances, most just lately in 2014. Now 40 years outdated, Williams’ profession will come full circle as her last match – in whichever spherical that seems to be – is to be performed on the website of the primary of her grand slam singles wins, the 1999 US Open.

Then simply a young person, Williams burst onto the scene to stun world No. 1 Martina Hingis within the last and lay the primary stepping stone on her path to twenty years of dominance.

After Kontaveit received her first Tour-level title in 2017 her true breakout 12 months got here in 2021 as she received 4 WTA tournaments to rise via the rankings.

An aggressive participant with a assorted sport and highly effective forehand, Kontaveit broke into the world’s prime 10 for the primary time in November 2021 and has been a mainstay since.

She sits at a career-high rating of No. 2 – the best rating in historical past for an Estonian – and at age 26 was seeking to enhance on her finest displaying at a grand slam, a quarterfinal look on the 2020 Australian Open.

Kontaveit regarded spectacular in her opening-round US Open win over Jaqueline Cristian of Romania, dropping simply three video games, and stated after her win that she was “rooting” for Williams in her first-round match.

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