This was Serena Williams’ scare of the tournament.
Before she faced No. 5 seed Simona Halep in the Quarterfinals, the No. 1 seed hadn’t dropped a set.
Tonight, she had the worst one of the tournament, but won in three, 6-2 4-6 6-3.
“I feel great. I’m glad I got tested,” Williams said. “The best part of it is I feel like — I mean, I think her level really picked up in the second, but I had some opportunities that I didn’t take. So what I gather from that is I really could have played better in that second set and maybe had an opportunity to win in straights.
“I think if anything, that’s the biggest silver lining I take.”
We will put that in the Silver Linings Playbook, but frankly, it was Serena who lost the second set on her own accord. With a score of 25-4 in unforced errors, it’s easy to see why Halep won the set.
“I think it was a good match,” Serena said. “I played well. I could play better in those moments when I had chances. But I think the level was pretty high.
“I’m okay with the way that I was fighting till the end. It’s something normal now for me, so it’s a good thing. She played really well. She is the best player, so her serve was huge today.”
Say what you want about Serena, she is still the best player out there. At 34, when most tennis professionals retire, she is still winning.
Right now, it will take a perfect game from Karolina Pliskova tomorrow or Caroline Wozniacki or Angelique Kerber on Saturday to beat her.
And frankly, she will have to beat herself too. Williams will have to be off her game for any of those women to have a chance at taking a set, let alone winning.
But take heart. Serena’s shoulder isn’t the greatest, which may be the reason why she had a bad second set.
“I’m not at 100%, but I’m okay,” she said. “Nothing to complain too much about.”
It will be interesting to see what happens tomorrow night as she takes on Pliskova. You may think this could be a massacre, but that’s why they play the matches, right?
Serena also will have a scouting report, since Venus Williams went out on Monday to the Czech player.
“I haven’t even gotten that far yet, actually,” Serena said. “I’m still trying to just get over this match. I’ll definitely — I will more than likely — I’m sure she will tell me something, but I’ll be there. I’ll be ready tomorrow.”
Bet on it that she is.