The 23-time grand slam champion, Serena Williams stormed into the third round of the US Open on Thursday. Serena knocked out the second seed Anett Kontaveit in a three-set contest 7-6(4), 2-6, 6-2.
Williams, who is now 40 and holds the current ranking of No. 605, upset Estonia's Anett Kontaveit, the No. 2 seed, in a see-saw encounter, to advance to the third round of the US Open. This win keeps her pursuit of Margaret Court and the record 24 major victories alive.
The exuberant crowd, which included several WTA and ATP Tour competitors along with celebrities hoping to get (at least) one final look at the all-time great, supported the home-Slam favourite fervently.
Playing the 1,013th match of her stellar career Williams was in vintage form and did not disappoint the tennis fans as she won the first set 7-6(4) in a nail-biting finish. The number two stepped onto the court in the second set with the change of plans and was able to take the second set 2-6.
The deciding set saw the 40-year-old display the dominating tennis she has been known for throughout her career, winning the set and the match. The Estonian did try to make a match of it but the support of the crowd spurred Serena to another win in her already illustrious career.
In her post-match interview, the American said that she has not played tennis this freely, ever since she made her debut in 1999. She said that she loves rising to the occasion and there is still a little left in her.
The tennis legend said, "There's still a little left in me," said Williams. "This is what I do best. I love rising to a challenge. After I lost the second set, I said, 'Oh, my goodness, this could be it.' I just wanted to keep trying and just do my best." Adding about enjoying her game she said, "Honestly, I'm just looking at this as a bonus. I don't have anything to prove. I don't have anything to win. And I have absolutely nothing to lose. I never get to play like this since '98. Literally, I've had an 'X' on my back since '99, so it's kind of fun." In another match, featuring future superstar Coco Gauff won her second-round match to advance to the third round of the US Open.
The teenager defeated Elena Gabriela Ruse of Romania 6-2, 7-6(4) to advance to the next round.
Playing in Arthur Ashe Stadium, the 18-year-old seemed more confident than in her debut at the very same tournament three years ago. She gave her opponent almost nothing in the first set, winning it without breaking a sweat.
The second set saw her facing stiff competition from the Romanian, but the American prevailed and won the second set, taking the match.
A platform that Gauff appears to be quickly taking a liking to, and one in which she will probably be making frequent appearances, it was her second career victory on tennis' largest stadium. Gauff is seeded No. 12 this year, is rated No. 1 in the world in doubles, and most recently added Roland Garros finals to her resume.
"I've always wanted to win in Ashe," Gauff said in her post-match interview.
On her memories of this stadium, she said, "I've been coming here for years, watching Venus and Serena play, and now I get to be here and play. Finally, on Monday I was able to get a win on this court, so I think my record now is maybe almost even here, I don't know." Gauff will now face fellow American and number 20 seed Madison Keys in the third round.