Serena Williams defeats the odds and advances to the third round

Serena Williams defeats the odds and advances to the third round
Serena Williams, after her victory over Anett Kontaveit, in the second round of the US Open, in New York, on August 31, 2022.

It won’t be for this time. Serena Wiliams seems to take malicious pleasure in postponing the time of retirement. After her victory in the first round against the Montenegrin Danka Kovinic, she won again, Wednesday August 31, in New York, qualifying for the third round of the US Open tennis. However, she was facing an opponent of a completely different caliber, the Estonian Anett Kontaveit, world number 2. But the 40-year-old American, who clocks in at 605e rank of the WTA, dominated it in three sets 7-6 (7/4), 2-6, 6-2.

” I’m really looking forward [d’affronter Serena]. I really wanted her to win because I never faced her. And this is my last chance. Better late than never “, had launched the 26-year-old Estonian player before the match. She was not disappointed.

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It is with the fierce desire to prolong his farewell tour at the US Open again, where she won, in 1999, the first of her 23 Grand Slam titles, which Serena Williams entered on the Arthur-Ashe court. Despite the huge ovation reserved for him, the emotion was less strong than on Monday and the stands were not yet completely filled, but the atmosphere was quick to liven up.

In front of Spike Lee and Tiger Woods

A few minutes earlier had been broadcast the same introductory video showing the images of his finest exploits in Flushing Meadows, narrated by Queen Latifah. In her sequined black outfit, diamonds adorning her shoes, Serena Williams enjoyed the same full public support as Monday. To the point of having to calm him down herself when the video refereeing showed that a ball from Kontaveit had caught the line of a few felt threads.

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Motivated as in her finest hour, Williams, who will be 41 on September 26, dropped her shots. But Kontaveit is not as soft as Danka Kovinic and the Estonian initially managed to contain the power of the American, returning blow for blow. As at the end of the first set, where Williams broke, to lead 5-4 and serve to win the set without succeeding, Kontaveit rejoining at 5-5.

The two players thus arrived at the tie-break: on a cushioning which stopped in the net, Kontaveit gave a mini-break to Williams. The American kept her advantage and concluded with an ace which made rise from their seat anonymous and stars, among which Spike Lee and Tiger Woods.

Tremendous aggressiveness

In the aftermath, Kontaveit immediately took Williams’ serve twice, to come away 3-0 in the second set with tremendous aggression. The American then stopped the bleeding by resuming one of the two late serves. But Kontaveit was ready to respond to the power of the American’s shots. Until causing gestures of helplessness in Williams. So much so that the Estonian continued her march forward by taking the face-off from the American for the third time in the set. And it was on an ace that Kontaveit concluded the second set.

By then, Williams seemed caught up in her own power and speed game: Kontaveit had 29 winners in straight sets (vs Williams’s 25), including 15 in the second set (vs 7). But as Chris Evert warned, “don’t underestimate” Serena Williams: close to knockout, she got up and resumed the fight.

Both players hit, balls flew, and Serena broke the lead in the deciding set to lead 2-0. Before breaking away irreparably and concluding with a superb winning comeback.

“At the point where I am, honestly, everything is a bonus. Every opponent will be very difficult to play, I realized that this summer.”had estimated, earlier, the American, whose surprise return to the circuit at Wimbledon had resulted in the elimination, in the first round, against the 115e world player, the Frenchwoman Harmony Tan.

In the next round, the American with 23 Grand Slam titles will face Australian Ajla Tomljanovic (46e). Serena Williams had announced before the start of the US Open its very next ” evolution “ away from the competition.

The World with AFP

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