Williams 3-2 Tomljanović* (* indicates next server)
An ace, a double fault, and victory in a long rally in which Serena handled a well-effective lob, and Williams holds.
I will look carefully for a picture of Spike Lee’s costume.
*William 2-2 Tomljanovic (* indicates next server)
Say this for Tomljanović, though – if she can just keep a second serve from exploding past her, she can hold her own here. She wins a long rally here and then lands a well-placed first serve to force an error and hold at love.
Williams 2-1 Tomljanović* (* indicates next server)
I saw three replays of the lob Tomljanović hit over Serena at 0-15, and I still don’t see how it was. But we are not here to argue with infallible technolehjkaeme23hb h.
Anyway, Serena holds on to love.
*William 1-1 Tomljanovic (* indicates next server)
Ah, now we know why Tomljanović chose to receive. Her service is nothing if not scary, and it’s not scary.
As she did in her last match, Serena is happy to blast an opponent’s second serve across the court. She hits a clean winner to set up three break points. She only needs one.
Williams 0-1 Tomljanović* (* indicates next server)
Tomljanović won the toss and chose to receive. Someone smarter than me will have to explain why this is a good idea. Serena’s serve faltered at times here, but it’s not something you want to face when she’s called upon.
But soon, it is not. Serena misses her first five first serves, and although she earns a point with a nice angled drop shot at the net, she faces two break points.
On the first, she gets her second serve, but Tomljanović returns easily, and after a short rally, Serena hits one long. An early break for the Croatian-Australian.
A quick aside for our Australian readers: Nick Kyrgios american faces JJ Wolf at Louis Armstrong Stadium (the second largest after Arthur Ashe) after the aforementioned Andreescu-Garcia match.
Who is Ajla Tomljanović?
She was born in Croatia but changed her nationality to Australia.
Her highest career singles ranking is 38th, set in February of this year. She is currently 46.
She reached the quarterfinals at Wimbledon two straight years.
Her favorite city to visit is … Charlotte, NC, maybe not the biggest tourist destination in the world but a place where she has some family.
She made her WTA main draw event in 2009 and cracked the year-end top 100 in 2013.
Her father played handball. (For American readers who don’t follow the Olympics, we mean the kind with nets, not walls.)
Her best tennis memory was her first time on the court with Chris Evert, so it’s a bit unfortunate that Evert is absent from the broadcast booth tonight. Mary Jo Hernandez is up there with John McEnroe and Chris Fowler.
Pre-match pomp and circumstance ends. Here we go…
Meanwhile, in men’s tennis…
Top seed Daniel Medvedev again has the dubious honor of trying to follow Serena at Arthur Ashe Stadium, facing off Yibing Wu and reminding me of when I saw Cheap Trick in top form opening for an oblivious Robert Plant.
But like the women’s draw with Serena, the highlight of the men’s draw is the advancement of a fellow veteran Rafael Nadalwho progressed today despite hitting himself in the nose.
As if women’s tennis took place in some alternate timeline, and Serena followed Spock through a time wormhole or whatever it was that made it possible for Leonard Nimoy to appear in the Star Trek reboot.
None of these players have ever played Serena.
No Thanks Kovinic, Serena’s first-round opponent here. Not Kontaveit. Not Tomljanović, tonight’s opponent.
Not Samsonova or Krunic (first names will be at the end of this post), her eventual fourth-round opponents.
Not her eventual quarterfinal opponents, a fifth seed Our Jabeur and 18th seed Veronika Kudermetovawho have already won their third round matches.
Not even a top seed Iga Świąteka two-time French Open champion who is less accomplished on hard courts.
If these players were incoming prodigies with youthful swagger that makes them impervious to the Serena mystique, maybe they’d have more of a chance. Kontaveit gained confidence for a while, fighting back in the first set to force a tiebreaker and then rolling past Serena in the second set, but it always seemed as if Serena was just catching her breath before unleashing the fury in the third.
But with the exception of the 21-year-old Świątek, these are veteran players who know they are supposed to be intimidated, and they are, even if Tomljanović came up with it. a new way to block out the crowd that had already bothered her when she played several courts away.
(This is home advantage of a type rarely, if ever, seen in tennis. On occasion, a handful of people cheered opponents’ service errors, but for the most part it was an appreciative crowd — and Serena herself once. shut down fans who grumbled about a line call, an unusual complaint in tournament whose line calls are scored electronically.)
The most interesting bracket would now determine a potential semifinal opponent for Serena. Coco Gauff defeated Madison Keys in a matchup of younger American players inspired by the Williams sisters. In Louis Armstrong Stadium tonight, 2019 US Open champion Bianca Andreescu facing a solid player inside Carolina Garcia.
Serena still needs to win five matches to match Margaret Courtthe record of 23 Grand Slam victories, a mark set in an era in which the field of competition was nowhere near as vast as it is today. Streaks end, and Serena’s may come to an end before she has a chance to play that dream finale. But there’s no one in this field who makes you think, “Yeah, THAT’S the person who’s going to beat Serena.” Not after watching Williams play Wednesday as a supposed underdog who completely outclassed the world No. 2 player.
(These first names: Lyudmila Samsonova and Aleksandra Krunic.)
Spare a thought today for those in the world-spanning field of sports betting.
If you bet on Serena Williams before Monday, you may have bought your ticket at 50-1 odds. Now she is in the 14-1 range. And doesn’t TI seem a little too skeptical, given the way she’s marched through these first two rounds?
We have to ask at this point – who will beat her?
Defending champion Emma Raducanu? Out in the first round.
champion of Wimbledon Elena Rybakina? Also out in the first.
Second seed Anett Kontaveit? Lost on Wednesday to someone…oh right… Serena Williams.
How about a two-time champion Naomi Osaka, as Serena a player whose recent lack of performance and success belies her ability? No. Out in the first.
Also out in the second round: Third seed Maria Sakkari and fourth seed Paula Badosa.
All told, only six of the top 11 made it to the round of 32.
Serena is playing tonight Ajla Tomljanović, the 46th-ranked player in the world. Should she win that one, she will face the winner of a match played all the way on Court 17 between 35th-ranked Samsonova and 96th-ranked Krunic. Bonus points if you know their first names. Answers in the next post. This is already my longest of the week as I basically describe a cosmic alignment not seen since the Harmonic Convergence from 1987.
The bad news for Serena is that she and Venus Williams lost their doubleheader Thursday night. But that just means more rest for someone who is at the age when men start buying flashy cars to make up for their receding hairlines and daddy years. (Not me. I have a sensible car.) She can focus on smashing her way through a succession of opponents whose résumés compare to Serena’s about the same as my book sales compare to children’s author Dave Pilkey. (Yes, I worked in a library recently, and I have shoe prints on my back from all the kids stampeding to get the latest Dogman books.)
Beau will be here soon. In the meantime, here’s Merlisa Lawrence Corbett on Venus and Serena’s joint farewell last night.
Serena Williams often says that she would not exist without Venus. So if this was indeed their last tournament together, it’s fitting that they exited the doubles Thursday night the same way they arrived more than two decades ago: as a team — The Williams sisters.
Once they officially retire, you’ll find them on the pages of sports, business, health, fitness, and fashion magazines. The Williams sisters transcend sports. They have deleted records, broken barriers and precedents to the point that little remains for protégés like Coco Gauff and Naomi Osaka. The chance to become the first black woman to win a career grand slam? left The first black woman to win Olympic golds in singles and doubles? left The first black women to win grand slam titles in singles, doubles and mixed doubles? left The first black women ranked number 1? left
What remains is a sporting legacy unequaled in its impact and cultural significance. The Williams sisters changed how the game is played and who plays the game. Forty-one years passed between Althea Gibson winning her last grand slam title and Serena winning her first. Today, four black women playing at this year’s US Open have a combined 35 grand slam singles titles.
Venus has five Olympic medals (one silver, four gold), the most won by any tennis player, male or female, in the Open era. Serena ranks second, with four gold medals. They are a perfect 14-0 in grand slam doubles finals. Black women – Serena (23), Venus (seven) and Osaka (four) – hold the top three spots on the list of major titles among active female players. There were more black women in the main draw at the 2022 US Open than African Americans in last year’s World Series.
Venus and Serena transformed the tennis landscape to such an extent that it is easy to forget what it looked like before they arrived. Women’s tennis matches were rarely played in American primetime before Venus and Serena. Billie Jean King fought hard for equal prize money in the majors. But that didn’t happen at all four grand slam events until Venus and Serena began drawing mega-TV ratings.
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