It’s clearly going to take a courageous lady to stare down Serena Wiliams at Ashe Stadium, the place 24,000 (minus the handful they’ve of their participant’s field) shall be backing the legend to maintain her profession alive for only a couple extra days. It’s maybe probably the most distinctive benefit in tennis historical past, a wall of noise pointed in a single course that by no means occurs anyplace else.
Watching her two matches, you possibly can hear the desperation within the crowd beneath the raucousness, the precise worry that it may very well be the final time poking by way of the joy. You may hear it on the published too (to not point out the ceremony after her first-round match that was positively deliberate to comply with both consequence and contained sufficient “This Is Your Life” that they have been positively leaning towards being prepared if Serena misplaced). ESPN’s commentators have been bending over backward and again round once more to reward Serena or examine her to her youthful self, which she positively isn’t. She’s shifting nice…for 40. She received pushed across the court docket by Anett Kontaveit a good quantity, and was capable of dangle round due to some very good, lunging protection that we’re merely not used to seeing from Serena as a result of she’s so hardly ever wanted it. Truthful play to her for nonetheless having it within the bag, and for warding off Kontaveit who actually was hitting the ball amazingly effectively and possibly deserved extra appreciation from the New York crowd for the tennis she was taking part in (32 winners).
Maybe that twinge of desperation from the New York crowd is desirous to make up for misplaced time, because it wasn’t all the time probably the most hospitable place for Serena. It’s been some time since that was the case, however it did occur, as Flushing Meadows took the identical period of time as the remainder of tennis to totally welcome the Williams Sisters. It was a gradual course of. One can’t overlook the glee of an excellent portion of the group in that well-known match towards Jennifer Capriati that’s nearly single-handedly accountable for the set up of Hawk-Eye. Definitely when Serena threatened a linesperson that wasn’t met with common approval both (nor ought to it have been), however it was additionally a crowd that was prepared to leap on her as effectively.
However everybody received there finally, and now nobody desires it to finish. That features Serena, who stretched and chased down some balls that she in all probability doesn’t get to anyplace else on the planet and beneath every other circumstances. It was putting to see Serena must fend off a participant like Kontaveit, who clearly has molded herself to be like Serena — monumental forehand mixed with plus mobility and prepared to pounce upon any opening for a winner. However this has been the story of the previous few years of Williams’ profession, going through down gamers who’re a product of the sport she modified.
It might go some time longer but. The draw is open, and Serena can’t see the tour’s present all-conquering monster Iga Świątek till the ultimate. The 2nd and third seeds have eaten it. A lot of the different high seeds are within the different half of the draw. Coco Gauff and Madison Keys are about to play one another, and so they’re nearly the one two gamers who may not face the complete power of a baying Ashe Stadium (although solely barely). Aside from Świątek, nobody on tour is carrying a ton of momentum (even Kontaveit’s type coming into the U.S. Open had been wonky, however it says one thing in regards to the present state of the tour that also will get you a No. 2 rating).
“This is the circus. Everyone’s trying not to go home” (Name that flick!). Maybe New York missed some of the circus and is sorry it did. But they definitely don’t want to go home now, squeezing every drop from whatever time is left.
Can I steal something from old friend Jesse Spector? Well, I’m going to:
It looks like Ohtani has risen from hell to smack dingers and make hitters look foolish, which he very well might have. And it’s also probably how Angels fans will feel when he’s traded this winter. A deal with Satan indeed.