Serena Williams qualified this Monday for the second round of the US Open, which could be the last tournament of her phenomenal career, by beating Montenegrin Danka Kovinic (80th in the world) 6-3, 6-3.
“I always do the best I can. And here I feel good. The crowd was crazy and it helped me a lot”, he commented before leaving the Arthur-Ashe court.
In the next round, the 40-year-old American with 23 Grand Slam titles, who is now ranked 605th in the WTA, will face World No.2 Anett Kontaveit.
Driven by the public, including its many stars who were part of it, and relying on her powerful serve, the player considered the greatest in history has thus postponed the end of her career a little longer. She because she announced in early August that she would soon be retiring. Nothing is official yet but the American Major, which she has won six times, seems like a good start with the festivities that have been organized in her honor.
“The decision was very difficult to make. It’s always hard to give up something you like to do. But I think it’s time and other chapters will open. It will be Serena 2.0”, confirmed the player who refuses to use the term “retirement”, preferring “evolution”.
Serena breaks through and wins in two sets
He served the first point of the game at 7:32 p.m. in New York in front of nearly 24,000 people on Arthur-Ashe Court, where he won his first Major in 1999.
His entrance on the court was preceded by an animation with images of his New York successes projected on giant screens, with a comment that insistently repeated “queen” (the queen).
Re-announced as “the queen,” she entered court dressed in a black sequined gown, her hair styled into a mane, and drew a deafening ovation from the standing audience.
In the stands, her daughter Olympia dressed as her, and her husband Alexis Ohanian, founder of the Reddit social network.
Before an audience committed to his cause and even unsportsmanlike to the point of applauding his rival’s fouls, Williams broke the inning to go up 2-0 in the first set. But Montenegrin won the next three games to lead 3-2.
However, on two double faults, he let Williams back into the game. The American lined up three games to lead 5-3 and serve to win the first set.
He saved four balls to get back on the break and completed the set with two aces and a service winner.
Williams prevails on serve and wins the 1st set
In the second set he managed a first break to go 3-2 and then a last one in the last game of the match.
Eliminated in the first round at Wimbledon, where she made a surprise return this summer after a year-long absence, Serena Williams treated herself to an extra dance in New York.
Halep eliminated in the first round
Romanian Simona Halep, seeded number 7, who had just won the National Bank Open in Toronto, was eliminated early in the competition, defeated 6-2, 0-6, 6-4 by Ukraine’s Daria Snigur ( 124th world) .
Surprise! Simona Halep defeated in the 1st round
It’s a rather unexpected underperformance from the former World No.1 (in 2017), crowned at Roland-Garros (2018) and Wimbledon (2019), who seemed to have recorded her return to the forefront, a year after falling out of the top. 10 due to a series of shoulder and thigh injuries.
His match was like a roller coaster, after losing the first set and winning the second, during which he gave a scathing response without leaving a single game to his rival.
Visibly physically handicapped on Court Louis-Armstrong, Halep then let go of her opponent who was leading 5-1 in the final set, before returning to 5-4, having erased two match points in the process.
The third was, however, the good one for Snigur who will face Canadian Rebecca Marino (106th) in the next round.
It was Snigur’s first appearance in the main draw of a Grand Slam tournament.
During his match, he wore a ribbon with the yellow and blue colors of the Ukrainian flag at chest height. After his victory, he put his hands around the ribbon.
Last week, he participated in the “Tennis Games for Peace” exhibition tournament to raise funds to help Ukraine. This event had also been presented at the Louis-Armstrong Stadium, possibly helping to calm Snigur down.
“I think it helped me a little bit because I was here for ‘Tennis Plays for Peace,'” said Snigur, who couldn’t help but cry in an on-court interview.
The tenth seed also falls
The tenth seed of the tournament, Daria Kasatkina, also tied in the first round.
The Granby Challenger champion, crowned last Saturday, lost the flag in three sets 7-6 (10), 1-6, 6-3 ahead of Harriet Dart, 88th in the world.
Third-seeded Maria Sakkari and 17th-seeded Caroline Garcia are among today’s winners in the women’s draw.
Garcia will now face Russia’s Anna Kalinskaya, world 60, who was the day’s top qualifier for the second round thanks to her 6-4, 6-3 victory over Sweden’s Rebecca Peterson (92).
American and 12th seed Coco Gauff, meanwhile, recorded the first victory of her career over the Arthur-Ashe when she faced Leolia Jeanjean 6-2, 6-2. Madison Keys also won at home, 7-6(7), 6-3 over Dayana Yastremska.
Ons Jabeur, seeded 5, also defeated Madison Brengle by a score of 7-5, 6-2.
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