Serena Williams Takes the Court For the First Match of her Last U.S Open
Serena Williams takes the court for the first match of her final US Open.
Williams will face Danka Kuvenik at Arthur Ashe Stadium at Flushing Meadows in New York City – the site of Williams’ first US Open win in 1999, when she was 17.
Earlier this month, Williams, now 40, announced her plans to retire from tennis after a decades-long career in which she dominated the women’s game and won 23 grands. Slam singles titles included.
“With her powerful serve and return of serve and athleticism, she really set that standard in the women’s game,” said Goldman of NPR’s story of her early years in Compton, Calif., with sister Venus under the tutelage of her father, King Richard. Said, ‘Now the fame of the film, that all became part of his legend and paved the way for young people of color to follow what was traditionally a white sport. See also.”
As she prepared to take the court Monday, Williams received tributes from fellow players and fans, including a spot on the cover of Time magazine.
Williams has won six US Open singles championships, the last in 2014. On paper, he’s a heavy favorite heading into Monday night, with a 20-0 record in first-round matches at the U.S. Open — without dropping a set since the 2001, U.S. Open.
But Williams is currently ranked No. 605 in singles, having recently returned to action after battling injury. Her rival, 27-year-old Kovinek from Montenegro, is ranked 80th.
Meadowlark Media sports commentator Howard Bryant told Weekend Edition that Williams has only played four matches this year and won just one.
“She’s really, maybe for the first time in her life, an underdog to win the U.S. Open,” Bryant said. “But boy, what a magical fairy tale if she can come to New York and do some magic.”
After retiring from tennis, Williams would continue her pioneering approach.
Serena Williams defeated Danka Kovink.
It took her a while to get going, but Serena Williams eased back a bit and produced her signature round of a 6-3, 6-3 win over Danka Kovinc to advance to the second round of the US Open. His record in opening-round matches at Flushing Meadows now stands at 21-0 and, more importantly, his farewell tour continues.
Serena Williams leads the second set 4-3.
A big ace to reach 40-30 helped Serena Williams wrap up the sixth game of the set relatively quickly and take the double break, 4-2. Danka Kovinc served to keep things in play (Williams prepares to serve next), but, for now at least, the tide seems to have turned Williams’ way. If her serve holds up, she could be in a position to control the rest of the match. Serena Williams’ improved movement has made all the difference. She earned a break point for the first time in the set to lead 3-2 over Danka Kovinc, who seemed to be losing energy or at least feeling the squeeze at this point.
Danka Kovinc leads 2-1 in the second set.
Although Danka Kovinc is currently in the lead, Serena Williams’ confidence is clearly growing. She’s moving better, serving a little better and getting some power back, especially on approach shots.
Serena Williams won the first set 6-3.
Winning the first set felt crucial for Serena Williams because of how nervous and unsteady both players were from the start — and how involved the crowd was. Williams finished with five double faults and Kovink six, and Williams faced Kovink with a whopping 10 break points and an epic, 16-shot rally.
It’s hard to overstate how loud the crowd at Arthur Ashe Stadium is, cheering every Kovink mistake and screaming for Williams between every point. ESPN has significantly reduced crowd noise for viewers at home. It was 11 straight points for Serena Williams to regain the lead in the first set. Kovinic looks frustrated, and rightfully so.
Diamonds are Serena Williams’ best friend.
Serena Williams’ outfits at Grand Slam tournaments are always the talk of the town. In what could be the last major work of her career, she’s going out dripping in diamonds — or at least making sure she looks like it. Williams will wear a black Nike outfit for her 21st appearance at the US Open, inspired by figure skating apparel. This dress actually inspires a classic silhouette for a woman who has worn denim skirts, one-legged cat suits and even a bubblegum pink blazer to court.
The dress also has meaning in its fabric – according to ESPN, the skirt has six layers, for each of her US Open titles.
His feet are where things really come into play. Williams will wear diamond-encrusted shoes with 400 hand-set diamonds on a solid gold shoe tag, leaving onlookers with just one question: How do you fit 400 diamonds on a shoe tag?
Who is Danka Kuvenik and can she break Serena Williams’ 20-0 first round record?
With the crowd at Arthur Ashe Stadium sure to be on her side and a flawed first-round record at the US Open bolstered, Serena Williams will have several advantages before she hits the ball on Monday night.
Beat itDanka Kovinc will have to play the match of his life.
The 27-year-old from Montenegro is yet to win a WTA singles title, although she has had her best year to date in the majors. She reached the third round at both the Australian Open and Roland Garros for the first time, en route to a gutsy three-set victory over US Open champion Emma Raducano in Melbourne.
“After the first set, she was hitting slice forehands. I’ve never hit a slice forehand in my life. For sets I was basically doing that. I don’t know how it ended up being so close. ” Raducanu said Friday, when asked about Kovinic’s game. I remember her being really, really solid, staying with you, punching back. Then if you dropped one after a long rally, she would attack. He is happy to run, happy to rally. He is a great athlete. I think this is going to be a good matchup.
Kovnik is looking to rediscover that stout defense from January tonight. She enters the match on a five-match losing streak after withdrawing from Wimbledon with a lower back problem, and has not won a match since the French Open in May.
At No. 80 in the world, she is one of only two players from Montenegro to have a WTA ranking (the other sits at No. 988). She reached a career-high ranking of No. 46 in 2016.
Serena Williams’ 20-plus years at the US Open (photos and quotes)
Over the past 24 years, Serena Williams has reached the US Open final 10 times and won the title six times in 1999, 2002, 2008, 2012-14. Here’s a look at what he had to say after each of those victories:
September 11, 1999 – Defeated Martina Hingis 6-3, 7-6 (7-4).
“I once heard Althea Gibson, one of her best friends, tell me that she wanted to see another African American win a salute before her time was up. I’m so excited that she’s alive. To get a chance to accomplish that. It’s really cool.”
September 7, 2002 – Defeated Venus Williams 6-4, 6-3.
“Ten years from now, I hope I can look at the tapes and films with my kids and say, ‘Look, mom did a good job!'”
September 7, 2008 – Defeated Jelena Jankovic 6-4, 7-5.
“I’ve been working really hard all year. Sometimes I wake up at 6:00 a.m. to practice and it’s so dark. I have to wait until it’s light. It’s just paying off. .”
September 9, 2012 – Defeated Victoria Azarenka 6-2, 2-6, 7-5.
“I really think that a champion is defined not by their wins but by how well they can recover when they fall. I’ve fallen many times. Every time I get up now and I I wash myself and I pray and I’m able to improve or I’m able to get back to the level I want to be at.”
September 8, 2013 – Defeated Azarenka 7-5, 6-7 (6-8), 6-1.
I remember when I was 17 I took my chance and I made some shots and I wasn’t making as many mistakes. That was great. But, you know, being older, It’s always wonderful and such an honor, because I don’t know if I’ll ever win another Grand Slam.”
September 7, 2014 – Defeated Caroline Wozniacki 6-3, 6-3.
“I never imagined I would be mentioned alongside Chris Evert or Martina Navratilova [as having won 18 majors), because I was just a kid with a dream and a racquet. Living in Compton, you You know, it’s never happened. … I’m just getting started.”
What Serena Williams Means to Black Women
Serena Williams is an icon for many black women because she only lived on the tennis court. Even when she and her sister Venus debuted in the late 1990s, her presence was radical, 40 years after Althea Gibson became the first black player to win a Grand Slam title.
Williams fooled critics of her body, her fashion, and her career choices because of her success: 23 Grand Slam trophies, a record in the Open era, and a record $94 million in career earnings. She and sister Venus opened a pipeline of diversity in tennis, making a once-hostile environment more hospitable. She endured racism, reached the top of the hill anyway, then planted herself there, breathing in the thin air.
“Serena is iconic to black women,” said Don Staley, the legendary South Carolina college basketball coach. “She’s doing it her way, and there’s no more comfortable way to do it. We all want that. We all want to be in a place in our professions where we’re able to be ourselves. Because Not everyone can. And every black woman certainly isn’t capable.
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