Bethanie Mattek-Sands, No. 101, who played the No. 1 Williams in the third round of the U.S. Open yesterday, delivered an intense match that had fans thinking that history would be delayed.
A win at this U.S. Open would make Williams the first player to complete a calendar Grand Slam since Steffi Graf did in 1988, making her even with Graf at the top of the all-time Grand Slam win list in the Open Era. Williams would also pass Chris Evert for most U.S. Open wins.
The pressure is indeed at an all time high for the 33-year-old.
Serving first, it took seven minutes for her opponent to set the pace against Williams, who lost the first set.
But then, the fire was ignited in the 21-times-Grand-Slam-Champion during the second set. From 5-5, Williams took over and won eight straight games to close out the 3-6, 7-5, 6-0 victory.
“She played really well. She played a really aggressive game,” Serena said in her post-match press conference. “I don’t think her level really dropped. I thought I just picked up my level.”
Drawing energy from the crowd in New York, Williams said,
“I usually don’t have a cheering crowd for me, so it definitely feels good…They usually cheer for the underdog, but I think everyone wants to see me go far, I guess, this year… It feels amazing every time I play. I think, if anything, it helps me.”
Williams continues her historic trail as she will face Madison Keys on Sunday.