Alex Mann is back with the regular feature, This Week in Tennis. Week 36 was the first week of the US Open 2022.
This Week in Tennis 36 – US Open Edition
We’ve reached the second week of this year’s US Open. Record New York crowds have gathered over the past week to witness some breathtaking tennis and some magical moments.
Serena Williams Last Official Tennis Match?
One memory that will stay in everyone’s mind was Serena Williams playing potentially her last ever tennis match.
Williams opened the first night session of this year’s tournament, walking out in a dazzling dress in front of the sold-out Arthur Ashe Stadium.
Having only played a handful of matches this year, it was difficult to predict how long Williams’ farewell tournament would last. Win or lose, Williams’ opponent Danka Kovinic knew she would be participating in a memorable match.
Williams dug in deep and produced some spectacular winners, winning the match 6-3 6-3 to set up a second-round meeting with the second seed, Anett Kontaveit.
Once again, Serena had the New York crowd off their seats as she battled with Kontaveit in three quality sets. Williams won the opening set before Kontaveit could find her feet. However, the Estonian came back to win the second, taking the match to a decider.
A re-energized Williams returned in the final set and played some superb tennis to break Kontaveit early.
A trademark backhand down the line from Serena on Kontaveit’s serve not only signaled another win but more importantly, another chance to watch the 23-time major champion.
Serena’s extended farewell
Serena’s farewell included partnering with her sister Venus in the women’s doubles tournament.
The sister team, who had won a remarkable 14 major doubles titles, lost in two tight sets to the Czech pairing of Linda Noskova and Lucie Hradecka, 7-6, 6-4.
A third-round meeting with Ajla Tomljanovic could be the final curtain call for Serena Williams. As expected, Williams offered us a final reminder of why she is one of the all-time tennis greats.
Striking the ball ferociously, Williams and Tomljanovic battled it out in the opening set before the Aussie took it 7-5.
Williams regained an early lead in the second, continuing to attack by hitting some immaculate volleys and backhand winners.
However, Tomljanovic didn’t let the New York crowd’s continuous roars and applause stand in her way as she came back in the second set to take the match into a tie-break.
Given Tomljanovic’s outstanding level, Williams needed to play some of her best tennis to win the tie-break. And she did just that. Williams fought back, hitting some outstanding backhand winners to take the match into a final set.
Serena broke Tomljanovic in the first game of the third set but couldn’t sustain the incredible level of tennis that she had produced in the first two sets.
But it didn’t matter. What mattered was that Serena brought her scintillating shot-making, her fighting spirit, and her love for the game one more time. It seemed fitting that it took Tomljanovic six match points to put Williams away.
A standing ovation from the 23,000 New York crowd signaled the end of an incredible match and an incredible career for one of the greatest tennis players of all time.
Frances Tiafoe plays the match of his life
Let’s round up some other news from this week’s action in Flushing Meadows.
Frances Tiafoe played the match of his career to beat Rafael Nadal. Tiafoe’s serve and forehand were on fire as he took out Nadal in four tight sets.
We will see a first-time men’s US Open winner with Rafael Nadal’s exit.
Andrey Rublev is Tiafoe’s quarter-final opponent. The Russian defeated Cameron Norrie in an impressive straight sets performance. Both players will be looking to make their first-ever major semi-final.
Nick Kyrgios has continued his impressive form taking out the world number 1, Daniil Medvedev, in the fourth round to reach his first quarter-final at the US Open. He now faces Karen Kachanov, who defeated Pablo Carreno Busta in 5 grueling sets.
Matteo Berrettini seems to have rediscovered his form this tournament but faces a tough test against 5th seed, Casper Ruud.
Can Caroline Garcia win her first grand slam?
Since losing her 37-match winning streak at Wimbledon, Iga Swiatek has struggled to replicate this impressive feat. However, she has improved in this tournament and now plays Jessica Pegula.
In-form Caroline Garcia is on a 12th match winning streak and so far hasn’t lost a set at this year’s tournament.
Her quarter-final opponent is Coco Gauff, who has also been playing some incredible tennis this past week. This will be a match you won’t want to miss.
Aryna Sabalenka continued her impressive performances, taking out Danielle Collins.
Carlos Alcaraz and Jannik Sinner battled through their fourth-round encounters to beat Marin Cilic and Ilya Ivashka in five sets, respectively.
The Next-Gen stars now face one another for the chance to reach the semi-final. Who do you think will win?