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Sunday, December 3, 2023

US Open 2022: Serena Williams defeats World number 2 Anett Kontaveit, advance to third round

Former Tennis Number 1 Serena Williams overcame second seed Anett Kontaveit to reach the third round of the US Open.

Williams, ranked 605th and turning 41 next month, won 7-6 (7-4) 2-6 6-2 to stun the Estonian in New York.

The American recently announced her intention to retire after her home major and is now into the third round.

Serena Williams will play Australia’s Ajla Tomljanovic next in the third round of the oning Us Open on Friday.

The Golf master, Tiger Woods was among the famous faces cheering on Williams, who revealed in the Vogue essay announcing her “evolution” away from tennis that the golfing great had given her advice on whether to have one final crack.

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How did Williams beat the world’s second best player?

The atmosphere on Ashe lacked the same fervour as on Monday and felt tense in the opening stages, perhaps because there was less expectation on Williams’ chances because of Kontaveit’s seeding.

But it soon became apparent that Williams was going to push Kontaveit hard.

“I’m just pleased I showed up because the last few tournaments I didn’t show up,” said Williams.

The world number two fought off three break points to hold for 4-3 after a game that lasted more than 11 minutes and faced another in her next service game.

The crowd was ready to be ignited and an explosion of noise arrived when Kontaveit hit a return long to give a 5-4 lead to Williams.

Now serving for the set, Williams threw in her worst game of the match at the worst possible time.

Olympia going hard for her mother. Love to see it! She turns five today. Time really does fly.

A double fault handed the break straight back to Kontaveit and the pair both held serve again to ensure the opener would be decided by a tie-break.

Williams claimed a mini-break when a Kontaveit drop-shot floated into the net and served out the set with an ace, leading to more passionate appreciation.

There was an drop in energy from Williams at the start of the second set as Kontaveit raced 3-0 ahead with a double break.

After errors contributed heavily to Williams clawing one of them back, Kontaveit reasserted her authority to quickly level the match and the veteran disappeared at the end of the set for an extended breather backstage.

Looking revived on her return – which she joked was down to “being lighter” after a toilet break – Williams broke Kontaveit’s serve at the third opportunity for a 2-0 lead.

Going on to record a straightforward victory always felt unlikely amid the tension and more swings of momentum came as the pair swapped breaks in consecutive games.

When Williams held for 4-1, the mood of the crowd indicated they finally truly believed she would complete victory and she did that with a backhand winner after a nervous game from Kontaveit.

“I’m having fun and I’m enjoying it,” Williams said.

“I feel like everything here is a bonus. It’s that weird mixture of embracing but also staying focused.”

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