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US Open 2022: Serena Williams extends farewell journey with a gritty win against Anett Kontaveit

Serena Williams

Bengaluru, September 1: American tennis great Serena Williams extended her farewell journey at least by a few more days after shocking Estonia's WTA world No. 2 Anett Kontaveit in a thrilling second-round tie of the US Open 2022 at Arthur Ashe Stadium in Flushing Meadows on Wednesday night.

In their first-ever WTA Tour level meeting, Serena won the first set in a tie-breaker 7-6 (7-4), closing it out with an ace after an hour and three minutes.

Kontaveit restored parity, quickly righted herself, racing to a 3-0 lead in the second and eventually grabbed it 6-2 to force a third.

It all boiled down to the decider where the 40-year-old had the last laugh as she prevailed 6-2.

The 2hrs and 27min victory sees Serena move into the third round where she will face Croatian-Australian WTA world No.46 Ajla Tomjlanov.

Moving away

Moving away

With 23 Grand Slam singles titles, Serena is just one shy of Margaret Court's all-time record as she appears set for one last shot at matching the Australian at the Grand Slam event of the year.

Serena had announced to the world on August 9 that she was getting ready to step away from her playing career, leaving unclear exactly when the end would be, although she hinted it could come at the US Open 2022.

Track record

Track record

Her first-round match fell into the category of a must-see happening, drawing a record crowd of more than 29,000 to the tournament grounds, including more than 23,000 at Arthur Ashe Stadium and the atmosphere was uproarious and electric from start to finish of her 6-3, 6-3 victory over Danka Kovinic.

And the plot was no different in the second-round match against Kontaveit. Serena has now won her last 10 Grand Slam matches against opponents ranked in the top-two, with her last loss coming to Justine Henin 15 years ago at the US Open 2007.

Over to doubles

Over to doubles

She has also only lost three of her previous 104 US open matches when she has won the first set, and is 42-0 in the opening two rounds at Flushing Meadows.

And as of now Serena and her sister Venus Williams will join forces in doubles on Thursday, teaming up for the first time anywhere since 2018 this week. The Williams sisters had accepted a wild-card entry offered by the US Open 2022 organisers for the women's doubles event.

Star-studded turnout

Star-studded turnout

Just like the first-round match, it was yet again a star-studded turnout at the stadium (including American golfing great Tiger Woods in her players' box cheering her on) to watch what could have been Serena's last singles' match, but the six-time US Open winner proved too good, extending her farewell campaign once again.

OPTA MATCH STATS

WINNERS/UNFORCED ERRORS

Serena- 38/39

Kontaveit - 30/27

ACES/DOUBLE FAULTS

Serena - 11/6

Kontaveit - 5/5

BREAK POINTS WON

Serena - 5/12

Kontaveit - 5/11

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Story first published: Thursday, September 1, 2022, 10:45 [IST]
Other articles published on Sep 1, 2022