August 27, 2022
Serena Williams has been seeking one last win for some time.
In recent years that meant one last Grand Slam title, to draw level with Margaret Court’s historic 24 majors.
But that dream faded with the passing years and did it really matter? What Serena has achieved in the modern era makes her the greatest anyway.
So now Serena’s last win means another match. One last victory on a big stage, the chance to hear the cheers and tributes of an adoring crowd.
And what better stage than Arthur Ashe on the first night of the US Open with the crowd going wild?
It’s a winnable match but by no means a given for the iconic superstar.
Williams faces Danka Kovinic of Montenegro. She is ranked number 80 in the world and she has lost her last five matches, all in straight sets.
But even the most average of players seem to raise their game against Serena these days, as she knows to her cost.
In a way she is the victim of decades of her own success in that regard. And Kovinic is also a big server and capable of doing some damage.
Serena must ditch her nerves, savour the occasion and get deadly. Then it could be an extraordinary night at Flushing Meadows.
If Williams can win through, she will probably face the number two seed Annet Kontaveit – and it could get messy.
So this opening night of the US Open is Serena’s night. Pretty much the entire tennis world will be cheering on the living legend one last time.
Meanwhile reigning champion Emma Raducanu faces a tough opener against Alize Cornet.
It was Cornet who ended Iga Swiatek’s 37-match unbeaten run at Wimbledon. And she beat both Simona Halep and Garbine Muguruza at the Australian Open.
Cornet is 32 and about to contest her 63rd consecutive Grand Slam main draw, a record.
Raducanu will hold no fears for this seasoned veteran. The British sensation will have to be at the top of her game in order to progress.
Emma admitted to feeling ‘weird’ during early practice in New York and had strapping on her wrist. But she dismissed all these issues as minor and temporary, so we expect her to come out fighting on Tuesday evening.
Other Brits in the draw are the high-flying Cameron Norrie, who faces the temperamental Benoit Paire, and Kyle Edmund, who is up against fifth seed Casper Ruud.
Andy Murray plays the 24th seed, Francisco Cerundolo. But Andy will still believe he can advance in a happy hunting ground.
Dan Evans also loves New York and won’t fear Jiri Vesely. Meanwhile Harriet Dart has an immense task to topple tenth seed Daria Kasatkina.
Serena holds centre stage for now. Next summer it will be all about Wimbledon 2023!
Will you be there for the biggest major of them all?