Serena Williams US Open 2022 match tracker: Williams grinds out 3-set thriller over No. 2 Anett Kontaveit

·2-min read

Once again, tonight is not the night for Serena Williams' farewell.

After eliminating World No. 80 Danka Kovinic in Monday's opening round, Williams faced a much sterner test on Wednesday against No. 2 Anett Kontaveit in what's expected to be her final US Open and professional tournament. The 23-time Grand Slam champion aced it.

Williams ground out a first-set tiebreak win, was thoroughly beaten in the second, then held on in the third for a 7-6 (7-4), 2-6, 6-2 victory over the world's second-ranked player. If Monday was a celebration of Serena, Wednesday marked the moment a US Open swan-song run felt possible.

The first set was a taut contest, with neither player relinquishing a break through the first eight games. Williams struck first in the ninth to take a 5-4 lead with a chance to serve for the set. But Kontaveit struck back to force a tiebreak. Williams then did what she does best, scoring consecutive aces with a 5-4 lead to secure the 7-4 tiebreak and the set.

Kontaveit would not be fazed. She broke Williams to open the second set, held her first serve, then broke Williams again to take a 3-0 lead en route to a runaway win in the second set.

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But Williams struck first with a break and a hold to take a 2-0 lead in the decisive set. The players then traded breaks as Williams took a 3-1 lead. She never relinquished her advantage from there as she secured the 6-2 win in the final set.

Up next, she faces a third-round match against Australia's Ajla Tomljanovic, the world's 46th-ranked player. First, she'll play a doubles match with her sister Venus on Thursday against the against the Czech Republic's Linda Noskova and Lucie Hradecka.

Live updates
  • Jason Owens

    That's it. She didn't have to do it on her serve. Serena Williams took a 40-0 lead on Anett Kontaveit's serve to face triple match point with a berth in the US Open's third round at stake. She needed just one as Kontaveit couldn't catch up to her return.

    With the game, Serena secured a 7-6 (7-4), 2-6, 6-2 victory over the world's No. 2 player to advance to the third round and keep her final US Open alive.

  • Jason Owens

    Arthur Ashe Stadium is rocking. Kontaveit forced a break point in the third set's seventh game, but Williams held strong and won a dramatic rally to secure the game and a 5-2 lead. She's a game away from beating the world's second-ranked player and advancing to the US Open third round.

  • Jason Owens

    Kontaveit stays afloat with a quick game. Serena is serving in the third set with a 4-2 lead.

  • Jason Owens

    There was no blown 40-0 lead this time. Williams blanked Kontaveit in the fifth game en route to a 4-1 lead in the third set. She's in control of the match with her US Open career on the line.

  • Jason Owens

    Another break. Williams is back in control with a 3-1 lead after breaking Kontaveit for a second time in the third set. The players have now traded three-straight breaks.

  • Jason Owens

    Kontaveit broke Serena's second serve of the set as Williams relinquished a 40-0 lead for the second time in the match. She rallied from the deficit to force two break points and converted on the second to cut her deficit to 2-1. She'll serve to tie match's decisive third set.

  • Jason Owens

    What a grind of a game from both players. Williams forced three break points and converted on her third to take a 2-0 lead up a break in the decisive set.

    The crowd's really into it, a little too much. The chair umpire is scolding them as they cheer between Kontaveit's serves. Meanwhile, Serena had to call them off from booing a close call when a Kontaveit return landed in by a milimeter on break point.

  • Jason Owens

    Serena's off to a good start. She allowed a single point to Kontaveit en route to a first-game win in the third set.

  • Jason Owens

    Serena's back from a break to serve first in the third set. Will she grind out a win, or is this the last singles set of her illustrious career?

  • Jason Owens

    Kontaveit cruises, secures the decisive game of the second set with an ace to win, 6-2. We're headed to a third set with a trip to the third round and Serena Williams' final US Open at stake.