Serena Williams has shown us over and over again that she will not go down without a fight. That didn’t change on Monday when she came roaring back from a 3rd set deficit to win her U.S. Open match against Maria Sakkari with a score of 6-3, 6-7, 6-3. Williams is now set to play in her 53rd career grand slam quarterfinal with the chance to secure her 24th Grand Slam title.
Approximately two weeks ago, Sakkari defeated Williams who suffered a leg cramp in the third set of the Western & Southern Open. On Monday, things seemed be going down the same road as Sakkari gained control of the match early on. By the end of the second set, Sakkari had served more aces and hit more winners.
With no fans at this year’s event, Williams had to dig deep heading into the final set with all indicators pointing to another disappointing loss. Sakkari continued to maintain control, moving up 2-0 in the third set. Then the momentum suddenly began to shift towards Williams.
She turned up the heat and found herself winning three games in a row. With everything on the line at 3-4 in the third set, Sakkari fell apart as she lost her serve with three unforced errors. This time, Williams ensured she would not find herself on the losing end of the match.
When the victory was secured, Williams let the emotion out as she turned and yelled towards her husband who stood in his front-row seat and yelled right back.
It makes sense that Serena would feel so strongly after the win. Not only did she beat Sakkari who had her number just a few weeks ago, she overcame some of the struggles she’s faced on the court since tennis’ return following Covid-19. Williams had a 3-2 record in her matches post-Covid. However, she has recently turned that around, going on a 4-0 run at the U.S. Open.
This victory also marks Serena’s 100th win at Arthur Ashe Stadium, making her the only player to accomplish such a feat. She’s hoping to carry this magic forward to her 12th consecutive U.S. Open quarterfinal where she will face Tsvetana Pironkova. Pironkova, who is playing her first tournament since Wimbledon 2017, beat Alize Cornet in three sets.