23-time major champion Serena Williams stunned audiences with a gutsy display of athleticism to defeat No 2 seed Kontaveit in a thrilling 7-6, 2-6, 6-2 victory.
After announcing her plans to retire from the sport that has come to make her a global star, recognised around the world and idealised by generations of fans, all eyes have been on Serena Williams during her US Open campaign. It’s hard to fathom the kind of pressure that now rests on Williams’ shoulders, particularly as a loss could signal her last performance on the tennis court. But never one to shy away from the attention or fail to rise to expectations, Williams has continued to prove why she is considered the greatest of all time, with a thrilling victory of second-seeded Anett Kontaveit.
Williams entered the US Open ranked 605th, having only won a single match in 450 days. It’s the kind of statistics that would see her cast aside quickly, but fans know better than to doubt the talent of Williams, just as they know that regardless of where she stands on the player’s ranking, Williams will give her all on the court every time and fight with sheer grit and determination to seize victory.
After a tense opening tiebreaker that saw Williams come out with the first set, Kontaveit fought back to claim the second. Even with the crowd that was firmly rooting for Williams, Kontaveit showed poise on the court and managed to hold her nerve to fight off the first five break points. But in the third set, it was Williams who broke again and held on to finish the match, finding yet another incredible triumph in her illustrious career.
In a match that was won in two hours and 27 minutes, Williams raised a fist to her player box and hear the ecstatic roars of the sell-out crowd, with some 23,000 spectators who had all come to fill Arthur Ashe Stadium. Speaking about her performance, Williams said: “It’s no rush here. I’m loving this crowd. There’s still a little left in me. We’ll see.”
Williams will now advance to the third round on Friday, where she will face Ajla Tomljanovic, the unseeded Aussie ranked 46th. Williams will look to continue her US Open campaign and, hopefully, end her career with a record-tying 24th major to equal Margaret Court’s all-time mark. Though that remains to be seen, it’s clear Williams is still a force to be reckoned with.
“I haven’t played many matches, but I’ve been practicing really well,” said Williams. “The last couple of matches it’s come together. After I lost the second set I thought, ‘I’ve got to give my best effort because this could be it.’ I’m just looking at it as a bonus. I don’t have anything to lose. I’ve had an X on my back since 1999. I really enjoy just coming out and enjoying it.”
Source @womenshealth.com.au: Read more at : womenalive.org