Just two short months ago, Serena Williams was an afterthought. Losing in the second round at Roland Garros and then in the third round at Wimbledon, the 32 year-old was considered done.
With 17 Grand Slam titles under her belt, 18 seemed just so far away.
“It was definitely the number 18,” she said “I have been trying to reach it for so long, since last year. Well, since the beginning of the year. I didn’t really think would I get there. I just felt so good.”
But there’s something about the Open that brings out the best in Serena and today she proved it once again beating Caroline Wozniacki, 6-3 6-3 to take the US Open Women’s title.
“The feeling is the crowd here is unbelievable,” she said. “It really is a great crowd here. It feels so good to have the support of the crowd and hear the roar. It’s like no other roar at any stadium like the one on Arthur Ashe Stadium. It’s a great feeling. I think it’s my favorite feeling.”
With her 18th, she ties Chris Everett and Martina Navratilova for the most slams by a woman and her sixth Open title. It is easily her best showing of the year after also going out in the fourth round in Melbourne.
But during the US Open Series, Serena got her groove back, winning the $1 million bonus to go along with the $3 million Flushing purse.
Unlike earlier this season, she looked determined these past two weeks. She dominated her opponents, even Wozniacki, who gave it a good fight, but still could not overcome her power and speed.
And as much as the Woz tried, she just couldn’t get over the hump. Serena now took three straight matches off of her and is still looking for an answer.
“I have played really well this summer,” Wozniacki said. “I have won so many matches. And Serena has stopped me three times. They say three times lucky. I was hoping for that today. I’m going to try four times lucky the next time.”
Maybe, but as this has proven a determined Serena is no match for the rest of the field. Sure, she got a little lucky with most of the top 10 going out early, but you play who is in front of you and in the end, they still couldn’t beat Williams.
Now, with the 18th under her belt, Serena will go for the record. She seems determined enough that maybe 19 is around the corner and even 22 is on the horizon.
“I am thinking about 19, which I’m kind of disappointed,” Williams said. “Hasn’t even been three hours and I’m already — I have already mentioned 19. Oh, gosh. So, yeah, but not 22. I’m taking it one at a time.”
Ok 22 is a ways away, but you get the point. There’s still plenty of life left in Serena and with some determination, she will be back again next year, not just for 19, but maybe even 22. Or even Margaret Court’s 24.
“I think if anything I have proven that I can play a lot of matches,” she said. “I have played a lot of matches in the past five weeks. I think I have proven I have the discipline to just be able to go in and out and just perform in every match and every tournament that I play and just give 100%. I was doing that so well, so well last year, and I wasn’t able to do it as much. Even though I tried just as hard, I just wasn’t able to do it as well this year. So it was good to get that feeling back.”
She’s back and better than ever.