Serena Williams takes the final lap of the 2022 US Open.
Her unexpected second-round victory over world number two Anett Kontaveit this week is only the final chapter in her love affair – with some hints of anger – with the championship.
Here are some of the highlights of the tennis greats at Flushing Meadows:
First win at the US Open
In 1999, when he was just 17 years old, and his second US Open debut, Williams made history. Already distinguished by her strength and enthusiasm, the young athlete surprises many of the legends of her sport, including young Kim Clijsters, Monica Seles, and her defending champion, Lindsay Davenport.
In the final, even the number one racket in the world, the Swiss Martina Hingis, was not his match. The seventh seed wins the match 6-3, 7-6 (4) and celebrates in style with her family.
It was Serena’s older sister, Venus, to stand out in the early 2000s, winning the 2000 and 2001 editions of the event, notably beating her younger sister in that second victory.
This was the first time the two young women had met in a Grand Slam final, but it is far from the last. They will face each other nine times in all of these circumstances, including in 2002 in the US, where Serena avenged with a 6-4, 6-3 victory. After the meeting, Venus would announce that her little sister was simply too strong.
Injuries followed that title in 2002, and an initial controversy two years later, when Serena said she was “robbed” in the quarter-final against Jennifer Capriati. Having made no fewer than 57 non-coercive fouls, she has been highly critical of the referee’s work, while the new font technology appears to have some problems.
In 2009, Williams exploded with fury in the semi-finals, threatening an assistant who kicked him for a foot error, giving Kim Clijsters two game points. Officials found her guilty, and she had to pay fines of around $100,000, which she later denied was severe.
The tennis player also got into a fight with referee Eva Asderaki in 2011, refusing to shake her hand after her defeat.
In 2008, Williams took advantage of her victory in the United States to regain the number one spot in the world rankings, which she lost in 2003. She did not give up a single set, including against Venus in the quarter-finals, and then swept Serbian Jelena Jankovic in the final.
From 2012 to 2014, Williams was elusive to win three consecutive titles at Flushing Meadows. Frustrated in the 2011 final from Australia’s Samantha Stosur, the fourth seed will only escape a group in the final.
It was Belarusian Victoria Azarenka who almost blocked her way by offering herself part of the winning serve, 5-3 in the third set, but Williams would come from behind to win.
In 2013, the defending champion would leave only crumbs for her opponent, taking the measure of Spaniard Carla Suarez Navarro in two sets of 6-0 in the quarter-finals. Once again, Azarenka awaits her in the final, and like the year before, the American came out victorious in three sets.
His most dominant victory
At her peak in 2014, Williams won her sixth and final US Open title. This time she did not lose any sets and did not give her opponents more than three matches in a group. In the final confrontation, the Danish Caroline Wozniacki only pass, and she lost in two sets of 6-3.
It took until 2018 to see the legendary player again in the Grand Slam final. That year, she lost to Japan’s Naomi Osaka, in a match that felt like a torch relay.
In 2019, 20 years after her first appearance in the final, she once again fought her way into the final match of the week, this time losing 6-3 7-5 to Canadian Bianca Andreescu. A few weeks ago, Ontario also won the Rogers Cup ahead of Williams, after retiring in the first round.
It was the United States’ latest opportunity to join Margaret Court at the top with 24 Grand Slam titles.
Will she be able to pull a rabbit out of her hat in 2022?
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