Serena Williams, playing what could be the last US Open of her long-tennis career, won her second-round singles match Wednesday evening
The six-time US Open champ entered the tournament as a 50-1 long shot as she downed world No. 2 Anett Kontaveit 7-6 (4) 2-6 6-2 at Arthur Ashe Stadium in New York.
“After I lost the second set, I thought, ‘Oh, my goodness, I got to give my best effort because this could be it,'” Williams told ESPN in an on-court, post-match interview.
But Kontaveit, who had said she was excited to play against Williams, encountered a player who showed no signs of wanting to hasten her retirement.
“I think she played really well,” said the Estonian during the post-match news conference. “I mean, I thought I didn’t play a bad match at all.”
After the players split the first two sets, Williams stepped up her play for the decider, Kontaveit said.
“She really switched it on from there,” she said. “There’s a few points here and there where I feel like I could have done better on my serve maybe.
I mean, she was returning better. She was playing the rallies better. I felt like she did everything a little bit better in the third set.”
Williams will next face Australia’s Ajla Tomljanovic in the third round. Tomljanovic, who defeated Russian Evgeniya Rodina 1-6, 6-2, 7-5 that same Wednesday evening.