Serena Williams Upsets No. 2 Ranked Anett Kontaveit, Advances To 3rd Round Of U.S. Open

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The Serena Williams farewell tour at the US Open did not end on Wednesday night, as she pulled off a major upset against No. 2-ranked Anett Kontaveit at Arthur Ashe Stadium. 

Williams dominated the third and final set, 6-2, after Kontaveit won by the same score in the second set. Williams took a walk off the court after looking a bit gassed to regroup, and that appeared to be what she needed. 

Williams came out firing in the third set, getting the first two games to go in her favor. After Kontaveit took the third game on a break point, Williams returned the favor and then won the fifth game, giving herself a commanding 4-1 lead. 

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Serena Williams of the United States plays a backhand against Anett Kontaveit of Estonia in their Women’s Singles Second Round match on Day Three of the 2022 US Open at USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on August 31, 2022 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City.
(Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)

Kontaveit would win the next game, but it would be all Williams from there, dominating to a 6-2 victory as she was showered by the roars of fans in Queens. 

“I’m loving this crowd,” Williams said smiling after the match. 

“Oh my goodness, it’s really fantastic. There’s still a little left in me. We’ll see.”

Williams will hope to prove she’s still got some in the tank in the third round against Australia’s Ajla Tomljanovic, who beat Evgeniya Rodina in three sets at a separate court on Wednesday night. 

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Serena Williams of the United States celebrates after defeating Anett Kontaveit of Estonia in their Women's Singles Second Round match on Day Three of the 2022 US Open at USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on August 31, 2022 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City.

Serena Williams of the United States celebrates after defeating Anett Kontaveit of Estonia in their Women’s Singles Second Round match on Day Three of the 2022 US Open at USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on August 31, 2022 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City.
(Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

The match began with both players going back and forth, trading games with the ball in their courts until Williams finally notched a break point to make it 5-4 with the chance to win the first set. 

However, Kontaveit would immediately break Williams’ next service to make it 5-5. The set would eventually end in a tiebreak, 7-6, with Williams coming out victorious on an ace. 

But Williams didn’t look the same in that second set, and she admitted she had to kick things into another gear. 

“Honestly, after I lost the second set, I thought ‘Oh my goodness, I need to give my best effort because this could be it,'” she said. 

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Williams might have been going against the No. 2-ranked player in the world, but she isn’t considered the greatest of all-time for nothing. 

Serena Williams of the United States plays a forehand against Anett Kontaveit of Estonia in their Women's Singles Second Round match on Day Three of the 2022 US Open at USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on August 31, 2022 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City.

Serena Williams of the United States plays a forehand against Anett Kontaveit of Estonia in their Women’s Singles Second Round match on Day Three of the 2022 US Open at USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on August 31, 2022 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City.
(Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)

“Well, I’m a pretty good player,” she said smiling. “This is what I do best. I love a challenge, I love rising to a challenge. I haven’t played many matches, but I’ve been practicing really well. …The last couple matches here in New York it has come together.”

Williams is 42-0 in the first two rounds of her US Open career. 

As Williams lives to play singles another day in what’s expected to be her final Grand Slam of her illustrious career, the 40-year-old is enjoying not “having an X on my back” as no one is gunning for her title at the top as has been the case since 1999. 

Serena Williams of the United States walks onto the court prior to her Women's Singles Second Round match against Anett Kontaveit of Estonia on Day Three of the 2022 US Open at USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on August 31, 2022 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City.

Serena Williams of the United States walks onto the court prior to her Women’s Singles Second Round match against Anett Kontaveit of Estonia on Day Three of the 2022 US Open at USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on August 31, 2022 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City.
(Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

“Honestly, I’m just looking at it as a bonus,” she explained. I don’t have anything to prove, I don’t have anything to win, and I have absolutely nothing to lose. 

“I’m just Serena.” 

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Before Williams gets back on the court for her match against Tomljanovic on Sept. 2, she will be joined by her sister, Venus Williams, on Thursday night for their first doubles appearance since the 2018 French Open. They will face the Czech Republic pair of Lucie Hradecka and Linda Noskova. 

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