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Serena won her match against the number two seed in three sets 7-6, 2-6. 6-2. Williams, who is considered by many to be the greatest of all time, is poised to drop the curtain on her career after the tournament and her vocal fanbase did everything in their power to will the 23-time Grand Slam champion into the third round.
Serena Williams signalled she is not quite ready for retirement advancing to the third round of the U.S. Open on Monday with a tough-fought scrappy win over Anett Kontaveit. The American won her match against the number two seed in three sets 7-6, 2-6. 6-2.
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Williams, who is considered by many to be the greatest of all time, is poised to drop the curtain on her career after the tournament and her vocal fanbase did everything in their power to will the 23-time Grand Slam champion into the third round.
Kontaveit said she expected the sold-out crowd at Arthur Ashe Stadium to throw their full support behind Serena Williams during her win on Wednesday, but the environment was "hard" and unlike anything she had faced before.
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"You can expect something, I saw it from the previous match," Kontaveit told reporters after her 7-6(4) 2-6 6-2 loss.
"But when you're on the court, I mean, it was hard... it was something I never experienced before."
The world number two said she held no grudge against the New York crowd.
"I don't think it's a personal attack against me or anything," she said. "I mean, it's fair."
Before each of her two star-studded matches, fans have been treated to a montage of Williams' career highlights while her opponent has been forced to stand on the court and wait for play to start.
The 26-year-old Estonian, who grew up watching Williams repeatedly triumph on the sport's biggest stages, said she understood the pageantry.
"It was her moment," she said.
"I was trying to do my own thing. Of course, this is totally about her. I was very aware of that."
But while she was surprised by the intensity of the crowd of nearly 30,000, there was nothing unfamiliar about seeing Williams raise her level in the deciding set.
"I always remember seeing how fiercely she competed for every point," Kontaveit said.
"I grew up watching her play. I mean, she was dominating women's tennis for so long."
Williams will next face Australian Ajla Tomljanovic on Friday and Kontaveit said there is no reason to think Williams could not defy the odds and win her elusive record-tying 24th Grand Slam title.
"There is also a lot of very strong girls there in the draw," she said, "But I think if she plays really good tennis, I think she always has a chance to win."
(Text inputs from Reuters)
(Edited by : Abhishek Jha)
First Published: Sept 1, 2022 10:02 AM IST