She somehow became more powerful. then grow stronger once more. Faster, then even faster. Better, more audacious, and larger than the time.
She seemed to think more and more that retirement was coming, but not today or tonight, the longer it went on.
Nothing made sense at all.
Maybe Serena Williams never experienced any of it.
Serena Williams advanced to the third round of the U.S. Open on Wednesday by defeating Anett Kontaveit 7-6 (7-4), 2-6, 6-2 in what she has declared to be the last competitive match of her illustrious career.
It was a throwback to her era when she dominated the sport and rose to become a global icon for both her prowess on the court and her personal style off it.
It positions her for a potential deep run in this competition, which was previously thought to be little more than an opportunity to receive flowers (and an Oprah-narrated tribute film) and give the crowd one last whirl.
Instead, she’s here and she’s coming.
At the end of September, she turns 41. On Thursday, her kid turns 5. She has only played in six matches all year. Yes, she did succeed in the first round on Monday, but that performance was uneven and did not signal the possibility of a sustained success.
She was now up against Kontaveit, who was around 14 years younger than her and the tournament’s second seed. Kontaveit wasn’t present for a performance finale. She came to take it all.
Serena may be doing the same right now.
Williams remarked, “I still have a bit left in me.” “Let’s see,”
She persevered through a back-and-forth first set that included several breaks and 20-point games to win in a tiebreaker. It seemed flimsy. It seemed flimsy. Williams, however, proved to be resilient, outlasting a tie-breaker and igniting a crowd euphoria that surpassed any championship round.
The pro-Serena audience was silenced by Kontaveit’s dominant comeback in the second, leaving everyone to wonder if this match would end in a whimper. She was too talented. too little. Way past her prime.
Serena didn’t, however, enter this sport subtly. At age 17, with beads in her hair and the world at her feet, she won here for the first time in 1999. She didn’t look the part. She failed to portray the part. She only altered the component.
She will continue to deliver piercing aces, primal joyful roars, and everything on unapologetically her terms even after 23 years and 23 major wins.
On Wednesday, everything was present.
the conflict The intensity. the forward hand.
Serena dug deep in the third set and mustered a level of resolve that perhaps no one else anticipated. Despite being predicted to lose, she defeated Kontaveit, gained command of the set, and eventually defeated her younger, more inexperienced rival. As grandiose a performance as she’s ever given, it was.
Does Serena possess the necessary skills to prevail? How about a run to the semifinals a la Jimmy Connors? It’s difficult to say. Alja Tomljanovic, 29, who is not seeded, will play next on Friday night. With no seeded player standing between her and the quarterfinals, her side of the bracket is currently very open. And compared to Monday, Serena looked and moved much better.
But stamina is still a mystery. also age. Additionally, Serena and Venus, her older sister, will start the doubles competition on Thursday.
Everything else is still there. the act of shooting. the recuperations rising to the occasion. To say that her supporters will be behind her would be an understatement.
Serena stated, “I’m looking at it as a bonus, I don’t have anything to prove. “I have nothing to gain,’ I said. I don’t stand to lose anything. Since 1998, I haven’t played this way. I’m having fun.
Serena learned the sport at a public park on a corner in Compton, and this is the competition she has always hoped to win.