Monday, October 3, 2022
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Serena Williams gives us another night of greatness that we can all appreciate in the victory of the first round of the US Open

A little first bomb, a big dance and a big smile. It was yet another US Open first round victory for Serena Williams, but it was far from being single another US Open first round victory for Serena Williams. Before her impending retirement from the sport she has revolutionized, Williams opened what will likely be her last event with a 6-3, 6-3 victory over Danka Kovinic.

Williams wants face no. Second seed Anett Kontaveit in the second round on Wednesday.

In a game of this magnitude, it was easy to get so much out of every point, out of every game. When Williams found herself facing two break points in the first game, it must have been nerves. When he came back to win that game and the next, the stage must have been too big for Kovinic. But then Kovinic won three games in a row. Had the only player in the WTA ranking from Montenegro been installed? Were we about to embark on a rollercoaster ride of shaky nerves and sometimes shakier tennis?

In truth, there were no conclusions to be drawn from those early games. There never are. Instead, Williams settled down. He broke Kovinic in a long sixth game to get back on serve at 3-3, and when he was given an inch, he took a mile, held serve at love to take a 4-3 lead and then broke. Kovinic blank to stay one game away from winning the first set.

That game was not easy. Williams avoided four break points and eventually came out on top with a big serve. Williams reacted with an emphatic fist bump as the Arthur Ashe Stadium crowd erupted.

It was far from a perfect set for Williams, but the determination and composure she showed in the crucial moments made the difference: she saved eight of 10 break points against her and converted three of five break points against Kovinic. The ability to win while far from your best is vital, and Williams, in the biggest first-round match of her career, showed that he still has it. The visceral reaction was also for good reason: he entered the night 98-3 at the US Open after winning the first set.

After Williams finally found her serve, it became 99-3 outright. In the second set, Williams committed only one double fault (he had five in the first set). Williams put up 79% of his first serves and won 93% of those points, compared to 61% and 68%, respectively, in the first set. He did not face a single break point and won 16 of 19 service points overall. It was total domination and a forceful way to end a magical night.

He is now 21-0 in first-round matches at the US Open.

here farewell essay in first person in Fashion in early August, Williams wrote, “Unfortunately, I wasn’t ready to win Wimbledon this year. And I don’t know if I’ll be ready to win in New York.” After a match, she is certainly more prepared than she was at Wimbledon, but she still has a long, long way to go. Either she will leave Queens with her seventh US Open title, a number that would break her tie with Chris Evert for most in the Open Era, male or female, or she won’t. The odds are overwhelmingly in favor of the latter, but she has never cared about the odds, and she certainly won’t start now.

But Monday night was not about that.

Regardless of whether your time in Flushing lasts two more weeks or two more days, you’ll be out fighting with every ounce of energy you have. You’ll battle your opponent through the net, the emotions that come with your final tournament, the mental and physical fatigue of a Grand Slam, and the fact that you’re doing it all as a 40-year-old woman from over a quarter of a century. in your professional career. tennis career

Often the beauty of sport is that there can only be one winner. But this time, when it comes to this player in this tournament, the beauty is in the fight. The persistence and courage to try to overcome all the factors that work against you. Williams certainly needed him during his rocky start, and we should consider ourselves lucky to see him, probably for the last time.

For so long, we took the greatness of Williams for granted. He won his first Slam in 1999 and his most recent in 2017. We thought he would never finish, because for a long time it seemed that way. The ending often comes slowly and then all at once.

And now, Serena Williams’ greatness is a different kind of greatness. The greatness of competing, even when the odds are high, the difficult preparation, the close end. A greatness that we must appreciate in all its splendor.

Monday night provided exactly that.


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