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United States International: The legend continues to be written

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NEW YORK | Even the best stories end. But the last chapter of the Serena Williams legend is not yet written.

• Read also: Farewells will wait

The greatest tennis champion will still play at least one match at the US Open, after beating world number 2, Estonian Anett Kontaveit, 7-6 (4), 2-6 and 6- after a bitter battle 2, Wednesday evening.

“I’m a pretty good player! Serena laughed on the pitch when Mary Joe Fernandez asked her about her victory over the second seed. That’s what I do best. I like challenges. My level doesn’t surprise me. “

For what could have been the last game of her unrivaled career, Serena stepped onto the pitch to thunderous applause from the audience, dressed in the same way as her first game.

The winner of 23 major titles wore her black skater-inspired dress, decorated with diamonds that sparkled like New York nights. Like his hair and her shoes, which she could see shining even on the heights of the largest tennis stadium in the world.

Because Serena Williams is not just a tennis icon. She is also a style icon and clearly wants to stay that way to the end.

Tiger and expensive tickets

Arthur-Ashe was then half full, but already familiar faces could be seen in the crowd, like that of golfer Tiger Woods, a good friend of the champion.

His sister Venus, former skier Lindsey Vonn, editor-in-chief of the magazine rowing Anna Wintour and actress Zendaya also took their places in the huge arena.

Gradually, the expected 24,000 spectators joined them for this evening of historic potential. They had paid dearly for the tickets. A few minutes before the meeting started, some were still available, but they were on sale for no less than $ 345 each.

Other fans watched the match up close around the stadium, where they could also be heard here we go Serena! “.

More relaxed serene

Clearly more relaxed than in Toronto or Cincinnati, the former world number 1 let go of his shots during the first set.

His stunts, many during this round, were all acclaimed by fans. Like Kontaveit’s faults, that he had become, for one night, public enemy number 1.

Encouragement came from all over. Especially when the American offered herself a break point on the Estonian’s serve.

Sometimes, even time seemed to stand still. Williams was no longer 40, he dictated the game as in his best years. His misses have discouraged her as in his most dominant seasons.

The legend even offered himself a chance to serve for the first set, but Kontaveit denied it.

Serena, on the other hand, recovered in the tie-break, closing the innings of an ace, in a scenario that tennis fans have seen so often over the past two decades.

Kontaveit finds the key

The number 2 in the world, on the other hand, rebounded rapidly. The Estonian had found the key: it was necessary to move the champion. He had to move it from right to left.

Because with so much tennis in her body, it’s mostly Williams’ moves that have been missing for a few years. And above all from this forced one-year break, the consequence of a leg injury suffered at Wimbledon, in 2021.

Aided by this strategy, Kontaveit easily forced a final round.

But carried away by the euphoric crowd, the youngest Williams nevertheless resumed her good habits in the third set.

The American has resumed regaining control of the exchanges. Including one of 19 points, which he won by easily varying the game.

And this time, Serena won’t even have to serve for the match. She was her rival who offered her victory on a silver platter, while allowing her to continue writing her legend.

The queen of queens

As happened on Monday, a video narrated in which rapper Queen Latifah praised the ” Queen of the Queen’s ”(the queen of queens), was introduced before the game.

The winner was also offered a gift given by Oprah Winfrey after the traditional net handshake. Williams will return to the field on Friday against Australian Ajla Tomljanovic, 46And world.

“I love this crowd. It’s incredible. This is all very exciting. I have nothing more to prove, nothing more to gain, but I have nothing to lose ”, exulted Serena, all smiles.

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