With her 6-1, 6-0 win over Wang Qiang, Serena Williams becomes the 4th player, male or female, to win 100 matches at a single major joining Martina Navratilova, Chris Evert and Roger Federer.
Her 44-minute win is tied for the shortest completed match of the WTA season. pic.twitter.com/qjPqcpg6u6
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) September 4, 2019
Serena Williams two wins from history at US Open
When Serena Williams won her first Grand Slam title at the U.S. Open in 1999, Bill Clinton was the President, Enrique Iglesias had the No. 1 song in America and Andre Agassi was about to win the men’s title in New York.
While Clinton, Iglesias, and Agassi are all absent from the headlines now, Serena is still making news and stands two victories from winning her 24th career Grand Slam title 20 years after she won her first.
“It’s cool to kind of have these opportunities to think about,” Serena said after routing Qiang Wang of China, 6-1, 6-0 in 44 minutes Tuesday night for her 100th win at the Open. “I’m not thinking about that yet because I’m still in it, I’m still playing, I’m still doing what I can do.”
Serena, who turns 38 this month, will enjoy what she does a lot more if she can win two more matches and finally tie Margaret Court with her 24th major. Since becoming a mother to daughter Olympia two years ago. Williams is 0-3 in Grand Slam finals, including losing the controversial final to Naomi Osaka last year in New York.
Another loss here in the semis or finals could be crushing.
Next up she will face No. 5 seed Elina Svitolina of the Ukraine. Serena is 4-1 against Svitolina, with her only loss coming in the 2016 Olympics.
“That was a tough Olympics for me,” Williams recalled. “Oh, man. Lost in doubles for the first time. Just really devastated about that doubles loss. Then obviously singles shortly after.”
Svitolina is playing some of her best tennis and hasn’t dropped a set in the tournament. Along the way, she has taken out Venus Williams, Serena’s big sister, and Madison Keys, a finalist here in 2017.
“She is obviously a fighter,” Serena said of Svitolina. “She gets a lot of balls back. She doesn’t make a lot of mistakes. She’s one of those players that does everything really well. So I have to do everything well, too.”
Said Svitolina: “Definitely it’s a big challenge to play against her. Obviously, Serena is an amazing champion. Probably it’s going to be really tough against her.”
Svitolina is also dating Frenchman Gael Monfils, who was set to play in the men’s quarterfinals on Wednesday afternoon against Italian Matteo Berrettini.
“I think hitting with Gael Monfils has really helped her game,” ESPN’s Chrissie Evert said on air of Svitolina. “I think they’ve helped each other.”
On the other half of the draw, a first-time finalist is certain to emerge.
No. 13 Belinda Bencic was set to meet No. 23 Donna Vekic in one quarterfinal Wednesday afternoon, with No. 15 Bianca Andreescu taking on No. 25 Elise Mertens in the other quarter Wednesday night.
After her dominating performance Tuesday night while wearing a skin-tight black outfit, Serena’s intimidation factor appeared sky high. She hit 25 winners against Wang, while Wang had zero. Some fans were still settling into their seats when Williams finished off her opponent.
“No, I don’t try to up any intimidation factor,” Willams said. “I am who I am. I’ve always been the person that goes out there and roars and screams and complains and cries and fights.”
“I’m extremely passionate about what I do. Most people that love their jobs are passionate about what they do. That’s just me.”
That passion has helped sustain her at the top of women’s tennis for two decades. When she won her first U.S. Open title 20 years ago, Serena beat Lindsay Davenport in the semis and Martina Hingis in the final.
Davenport, 43, and Hingis, 38, are both long retired.
Serena is still here, fending off yet another generation of challengers.
She’s widely considered the GOAT of women’s tennis but needs two more wins to get to No. 24 and tie Court in the history books.
“I’m pretty much ready for everything,” she said.