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What You Missed on the U.S. Open While You Were Glued to Serena Williams


The Serena Williams show has come to an end, quite likely for good in competitive tennis. Even when Williams continues to say “you never know” and her current coach Eric Hechtman and long-ago coach Rick Macci have their doubts.

“As of now, I assume lets say it’s over, but in her own words, the door will not be slammed shut and locked, right?” Hechtman said on Saturday. “I’d say there’s a crack open.”

“Just my hunch, but I feel she and Venus are still gonna play doubles,” said Macci, whose Florida academy was the sisters’ longtime base of their youth. “They’ve two of the most effective serves on the earth and two of the most effective returns on the earth, and in doubles you simply should cover half the court. When the Williams sisters play together, it’s the best show on earth. Anything’s possible.”

The Williamses are indeed stuffed with surprises and luxuriate in springing them. But what’s 100% clear is that they’re each out of this U.S. Open and that Serena’s prime-time farewell saga will not be the mega-story that blocks out all the sunshine within the press room (or no less than the American press room).

“It’s completely her tournament, for my part,” said Daniil Medvedev, the No. 1 seed and defending U.S. Open men’s champion.

But there was an awesome big Grand Slam tournament occurring for nearly every week in Latest York. Let’s make amends for what you may have missed:

In 2021, two multicultural teenagers made absolutely anything seem possible in tennis (and beyond). Leylah Fernandez, an unseeded 19-year-old Canadian with roots within the Philippines and Ecuador, knocked off favorite after favorite to succeed in the ladies’s final. Emma Raducanu, an 18-year-old Briton born in Canada with roots in China and Romania, defeated Fernandez in that final, becoming the primary qualifier within the long history of the sport to win a Grand Slam singles title.

But midnight struck early this 12 months, and the carriage was a pumpkin in the primary round for Raducanu, who lost to the Frenchwoman Alizé Cornet, and within the second round for Fernandez, who was beaten by Liudmila Samsonova of Russia.

There was no dishonor in either defeat. Cornet is playing the most effective tennis of her profession at 32 and upset No. 1 Iga Swiatek at Wimbledon. Samsonova has won two hardcourt titles leading into the U.S. Open.

However the early exits definitely do underscore how wild and crazy the Open was last 12 months. Truly.

While Serena was dragging her sneakers and talking about “evolving away from tennis,” a few of her lesser-known peers had no trouble saying the “R” word, including two longtime American pros, Christina McHale and Sam Querrey.

McHale, a thoughtful 30-year-old from Latest Jersey, announced her retirement discreetly after losing in the primary round of the qualifying tournament. She turned pro at 17 and shortly reached the third round of all 4 majors, peaking at No. 24 on the earth in 2012.

“I’m so grateful to have had the possibility to live out my childhood dream all of those years,” she said on her Instagram account.

Querrey, a 34-year-old Californian with a laid-back manner and an influence game best suited to fast courts, won 10 tour singles titles and peaked at No. 11 within the singles rankings in 2018, the 12 months after he rode his big serve to the semifinals at Wimbledon. The All England Club was also where Querrey recorded his biggest victory: upsetting No. 1 Novak Djokovic, who then held all 4 major singles titles, within the third round in 2016.

Germany’s Andrea Petkovic, also 34, had some big victories of her own and broke into the highest 10 in 2011 after reaching the quarterfinals of the Australian Open and U.S. Open. She got here back from a serious knee injury early in her profession and have become a hard-running baseliner. She has been a advantageous player but probably an excellent higher wordsmith: writing articles and giving interviews stuffed with wisdom and wit in German and English, as she did again on the U.S. Open after her first-round loss to Belinda Bencic.

The U.S. Open was very likely the tennis star’s last skilled tournament after a protracted profession of breaking boundaries and obliterating expectations.

  • Glorious Goodbye: Whilst Serena Williams faced profession point, she placed on a gutsy display of the facility and resilience which have kept fans cheering for nearly 30 years.
  • The Magic Ends: Zoom into this composite photo to see details of Williams’s final moment on Ashe Stadium at this U.S. Open.
  • Her Fans: We asked readers to share their memories of watching Williams play and the emotions that she stirred. There was no shortage of submissions.
  • Sisterhood on the Court: Since Williams and her sister Venus burst onto the tennis scene within the Nineties, their legacies have been tied to one another’s.

“I feel I brought every thing to the sport that I had to present,” she said. “Obviously it’s not in the quantity as Serena, but in my very own little world, I feel like brought every thing to it, and my narrative was done.”

She may play one final European tournament to present her European family and friends a probability to assist her say farewell, but she looked like an ex-player already this week with a beer in hand on the beach.

“First day of retirement,” she wrote on Instagram. “Having fun with my six-pack while it lasts.”

And possibly there are some benefits to retiring in America in spite of everything, despite Europe’s greater social safety net.

“Every American that I encountered and told them I’m retiring, their first response was, ‘Congratulations,’” Petkovic said. “Every European I told this, they were, ‘Oh my God, what are you going to do now?’ I even have to say the previous couple of days I’ve embraced the American way of taking a look at it slightly bit more.”

There will probably be no twenty fourth Grand Slam singles title for Williams, but there might be a primary for Jessica Pegula, Coco Gauff and Danielle Collins, all safely into the fourth round of their home Grand Slam tournament.

Pegula, the No. 8 seed, Gauff, the No. 12 seed and Collins, the No. 19 seed, are the three highest-ranked Americans on the earth. Pegula and Gauff are also relatively recent doubles partners who reached the French Open final together in June. No such luck in Latest York, where they were upset in the primary round, but 18-year-old Gauff, working with recent coaching consultant Diego Moyano, and 28-year-old Pegula, still working with coach David Witt, have continued to advance in singles.

So has Alison Riske-Amritraj, a 32-year-old with a vigorous personality and flat-hitting game who’s back within the round of 16 on the U.S. Open for the primary time since 2013.

She has a troublesome task on Sunday, nevertheless, as she tries to stop the resurgent Caroline Garcia of France. Garcia, once a top-five player, has been on the rise since June and have become the primary qualifier to win a WTA 1000 event when she took the Western and Southern Open title last month.

Her traditional airplane-inspired celebration — arms spread wide — is becoming very familiar, and though Riske-Amritraj beat Garcia on grass in Nottingham in June, Garcia is in full flight now.

Within the last major tournament, Wimbledon barred Russians and Belarusians from participating due to invasion of Ukraine. The U.S. Open didn’t follow that result in the dismay of some Ukrainian players.

Nearly one week into this major, no Ukrainians are left in singles, but Russians and Belarusians comprise nearly 1 / 4 of the remaining singles players.

Ilya Ivashka of Belarus and Medvedev, Andrey Rublev and Karen Khachanov, all of Russia, are in the boys’s round of 16.

Victoria Azarenka and Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus and Samsonova and Veronika Kudermetova of Russia are in the ladies’s round of 16.

One other difference from Wimbledon: The boys’s singles champion Novak Djokovic there was not allowed to play in Latest York.

On the identical night Serena waved goodbye in Arthur Ashe Stadium after giving tearful because of family and fans, Medvedev and Nick Kyrgios arrange a fourth-round duel on Sunday night that might normally have been the talk of the tournament.

Medvedev beat Kyrgios at this 12 months’s Australian Open, but he has lost three of their other matches, including a round-of-32 loss on the National Bank Open in Montreal last month.

It’s a box-office matchup and contrast in styles: Kyrgios’s offense and quick-strike, unreadable serve versus the 6-foot-6 Medvedev’s elastic defense and skill to avoid errors and absorb pace deep within the court (the Russian may serve plenty big himself).

But Kyrgios, riding high after his first Wimbledon final in July, is playing the most effective, most consistent tennis of his hot-and-cold profession, even when he was just fined $7500 for spitting and swearing at his own support team during a victory over Benjamin Bonzi on Wednesday. Medvedev has had an unsettled season, stuffed with forced breaks (hernia surgery and the Wimbledon ban) and defeats, even on his preferred hardcourts.

But on court, each remain volatile and audible in addition to ridiculously, iconoclastically talented. And on this case the court is Ashe Stadium. Ought to be one. May very well be an awesome one.

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