*Today (Tuesday, 09-03-13) at the US Open, inside a windy Arthur Ashe Stadium- where men’s world no. 1 Novak Djokovic had just annihilated his opponent 6-3, 6-0, 6-0, Serena Williams continued her campaign en route to winning a 17th Grand Slam title, putting her closer to being named the Official GOAT of the sport on the women’s side.
Tonight’s hurdle in the round of 16 is 25-year-old Spaniard, Carla Suarez Navarro, who only stands about 5’4″ tall, but has a world class one-handed backhand that has been known to trouble the average WTA player. But, if history is any indicator, Serena hasn’t lost even a set to a one-handed backhander since the 2010 Australian Open, when she ultimately defeated the now-retired Belgian Justine Henin and she certainly isn’t the average tour player.
The defending US Open champion started out the match with two aces, a deft net volley and won the game with a thumping forehand; 1-0. Carla, who’s birthday it happens to be, was able to take the first two points of her opening service game, but Serena quickly got her nose out in front with the next two points , taking the scoreline to 30-40, Serena. A netted forehand by Navarro earned williams the first break of the match; now the score is 2-0.
There’s been frighteningly efficient play, thus far, from Serena – wind a non-factor, except for wreaking havoc on her now-signature windsock ponytail. A focused Serena is just proving too much to handle for the birthday girl; she can’t seem to find the time to set up enough to display her inferior, but impressive arsenal of clay court honed weapons. To that point, the first five games have gone the world no. 1’s way. The score is now 5-0.
There’s an eery silence on center court as Serena proceeds to the baseline to receive serve, possibly for the last time in the 1st set given her performance so far. To the script, the forehand still proves too much to bear for the Spaniard, and the set draws to a close in just 19 minutes with Navarro earning just five points during the rout.
With no need to towel off between sets, Serena returns to the service line to open the second. The wind decides to challenge her more than her opponent, sending a ball wide for 0-15, but she quickly adjusts with an ace, an unreturnable serve and a dropshot/lob/smash combo that Navarro had no chance at handling at 5’4″. We’re now at 1-0, Serena.
On serve, Navarro does manage the first two points, but nets the third attempt, backed up from the baseline by Williams power … and the same goes for the fourth attempt; 30 all. A brief rally evoked a challenge in favor of Navarro, taking it to 40-30, and she serves for her first game of the match … But not a chance; she’s thwarted by an over hit forehand, now advantage Williams and she’s disappointingly broken again..
Serena easily holds serve in the next game, including sending a blistering forehand cross court, shutting Navarro out at 15 and taking the second set score to 3-0.
Carla is serving for 3-1, but was unable to earn even a point … 4-0, Serena.
The sweat is just beginning to form on Serena’s gear, but we’re 10 games in and well into the home stretch of the embarrassingly brief match. After two rare errors, “the greatest serve in women’s tennis” bales Williams out and makes it 30 all. A third error comes off Serena racquet and Navarro arrives at her first break point … but its quickly erased. Error number four comes from Serena and we’re at deuce; an unexpected spot of drama to disrupt the mauling. Another break point is earned by Navarro, but Serena’s doubles enhanced net play takes it back to deuce and a brief rally ensues. A forehand down the line gives Williams the advantage and she closes the game out with a backhand winner. We’re now at one set and 5-0, just 49 minutes in.
Carla now serves to stay in the match. She earns the first point, but a protracted rally that ends in Serena’s favor makes it 15 all. A double fault and a netted forehand brings up match point. She saves one … nets the first serve then has her second serve shoved down her throat to end the agony.
Happy Birthday, Carla, you’ve just been served two birthday bagels, courtesy of the great Serena Williams … enjoy!
It was a stunning display of skill, discipline and focus by Serena and she now moves on to the semis in just 52 minutes, with a 6-0, 6-0 score line.
“I’m just trying to do the best that I can and I’m so happy to have everyone’s support,” she said of the easy win.
She’ll next meet former French Open champion, Li Na, who is also playing lights out tennis and will likely present her with more of a challenge and she has a doubles date with her sister, Venus Williams, on Wednesday afternoon.