(August 31, 2022) FLUSHING MEADOWS, New York – Her career isn’t over yet. Six-time US Open champion stopped No. 2 player Anett Kontaveit 7-6(4), 2-6, 6-2 in her second-round match under the lights of Arthur Ashe Stadium on Wednesday night. The 40-year-old Williams hinted that this would be her last tournament and that’ she would be retiring.
The first set was tight between the two combatants was close, with Williams taking a 5-4 lead with a break of serve but failed to close out the set on her serve. The Estonian Kontaveit broke and held and send the first set to a tiebreak, which Williams won 7-4.
Kontaveit turned the match around in the second set, winning it 6-2.
“Honestly after I lost the second set, I thought, Oh, my goodness, I got to give my best effort because this could be it,” she said.
“Really I just wanted to just keep trying, see what I could do. Just do my best. I was just really excited, to be honest.”
Serena came back out fighting in the third set and returned to dominance closing out the set and the match 7-6, 2-6, 6-2.
“I’m a pretty good player,” Williams said in her on-court interview.
The stadium crowd was entirely behind Williams. “I’m loving this crowd, ” she said. “Oh, my goodness, it’s really fantastic. There’s still a little left in me. We’ll see, we’ll see.”
“This is what I do best. I love a challenge. I love rising to the challenge. Yeah, I haven’t played many matches, but I’ve been practicing really well. In my last few matches, it just wasn’t coming together. I’m like, this isn’t me.
“The last couple matches here in New York; it’s really come together. Maybe I should have traveled with you all for all those years.”
“I’m super competitive. Honestly, I’m just looking at it as a bonus. I don’t have anything to prove. I don’t have anything to win. I have absolutely nothing to lose.
“Honestly, I never get to play like this since ’98 really. Literally, I’ve had an X on my back since ’99. It’s kind of fun.
“I really enjoy just coming out and enjoying it. It’s been a long time since I’ve been able to do that.”
The 23-time major champion will face 29-year-old Australian Ajla Tomljanovic in the third round on Friday night.
She’ll be back on the court for doubles on Thursday night with her sister Venus.
“I’m so excited for doubles,” said Williams. “It’s like it’s been so long. We got to play again, we got to bring the reunion back.
“I’m excited to play with Venus, get some more practice because I could use the matches.”
“I think she played really well,” said Kontaveit. “I mean, I thought I didn’t play a bad match at all. Yeah, she definitely raised her level in the third set. She played amazing.
“Yeah, I think also in the first set she was serving so well in these important moments. Yeah, I mean, I fought really hard, thought I played a decent match. She was better today.”
“I think you have to be ready for really great tennis because she has been such a big champion, winning all these Grand Slam titles for a reason. So you have to be ready for a really tough match.
“She played great. Yeah, so, I mean, I was ready for a tough match. I didn’t think that anything was going to come easy for me today.”
More to follow…