Serena Williams can really win that

Photo: Dubreuil Corinne / ABACA / Shutterstock

Serena Williams He hasn’t won a major championship in more than five years. And with her going to this year’s US Open, which is supposed to be the last event of her illustrious career, it seemed certain that she would finish with 23 of them, one behind them. The problematic Australian Margaret Court On the list of all women. (It must be said that this statistic is Far from the content of the road To determine tennis bone levels.)

But those who don’t follow the ins and outs of the professional tennis tour — and now follow it as Serena whips up New York crowds in her wake. semi-retirement announcement in Vogue magazine Last month – he may not realize how likely this is to happen Which Success appeared in Flushing just a few weeks ago. Her latest performance did not inspire confidence that the end of her career story was imminent. Nearly a year after recovering from a leg injury, Serena lost in the first round of Wimbledon, a tournament she had won seven times. Last month, she fell in the second round of the Canadian Open to Belinda Bencic in straight sets. Then in Cincinnati at the West and South Open, young star Emma Radakano pulled off a 6-4, 6-0 win. In these two losses, Serena moved slowly and fired non-forced fouls all over the court; It was better to watch the matches through his fingers. Serena had more than the right to end her career however she chose, but when she entered the World Open at 406, her respectable but perhaps stomach-churning first-round exit seemed like the most likely outcome.

Instead, there’s something else that just goes downhill. On Wednesday evening, in the second round against second seed Annette Kontaveit, amid a frantic crowd roaring every time she won a point, Serena looked–at least at long distances– like her old self. I tore the winners with the back of the hand down the line. hit her The first transmission specified for the era with authority. It nailed the swinging forehand like it was in 1999 or 2014. (Yes, it’s been good for that long). It was a serious step into the game just two days ago, when Danka Kovinic sent in two uneven sets. A collection of sports cliches come to mind about what characterizes the greatest athletes – and the cliches have earned their reputation for being true. During her first match, on Monday, Serena had to shake off a great deal of rust and nerves, but she, they say, found a way to win. And in the third set of Wednesday’s game, when I abruptly moved away from Kontaveit, I found, as they also say, another gear. Serena feeds on celebrity-filled New York crowds rather than shrinks from them. She can research physical and mental reserves that most other athletes don’t have. These are the things of all The best commercial view broadcast during a major tournament. In more realistic terms, Serena produced perhaps the most electric atmosphere in the early round at the World Open since Jimmy Connors in 1991. It was something to watch.

And now, all of a sudden, it looks like she might, perhaps, have a chance at twenty-four after all. If she keeps upping her game, who is going to stop her? Ladies game, in A stark contrast to menShe has been characterized by unpredictability in recent years – a trend that is very visible in this year’s championship and could work in Serena’s favour. Some of the world’s best players were knocked out in the first round, including Radocano who won here last year; Naomi Osaka, Champion for 2 years; This year’s Wimbledon champion, Elena Rybakina; and former top seed Simona Halep, who has looked great lately. Serena’s next opponent is the 46th seed, Ajla Tomljanovic. If Serena wins, she will face either Lyudmila Samsonova or Alexandra Krunich. Nobody beats the world. Next, potential tracks include a quarter-final match with Wimbledon finalist Anas Jabeur or – one could dream – a showdown against the young American phenom. Coco Guff in the semi-finals. (That would probably set the decibel record at Arthur Ashe Stadium.) The most dangerous player in the lottery is the top seed Iga Swiatek, which collected 37 games in a row this summer, has seen a slight lull in its dominance, and has now resumed defeating opponents at the Open. But maybe this is thinking of a lot of next steps.

Even if Serena lost in straight sets Friday night, she showed a level of grit and determination that shouldn’t really come as a surprise given what we know about her – but that still feels like a revelation. If it somehow goes all the way, it will be one of the greatest sports stories ever. The only problem with this fictional ending is that it probably won’t actually be the end; Knowing she can still win at the highest level after all these years, Serena may be having a hard time staying retired.

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