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Sports

Serena Williams takes on Danka Kovinic at US Open 2022 opener, Follow Live Updates


Serena Williams at US Open 2022: Serena Williams was set to take centre stage as the US Open got under way on Monday…

Serena Williams at US Open 2022: Serena Williams was set to take centre stage as the US Open got under way on Monday with the 23-time Grand Slam winner preparing to bid an emotional farewell to tennis. Follow US Open 2022 Live updates on InsideSport.IN

After announcing earlier this month that the countdown to her retirement had begun, Williams faces Montenegro’s Danka Kovinic at Arthur Ashe Stadium in what could be her final appearance in a Grand Slam singles event.

Serena Williams at US Open 2022: Tennis queen Serena Williams readies farewell, takes on Danka Kovinic at US Open 2022 opener, Follow Live Updates

The 40-year-old sporting and cultural icon won the first of her Grand Slam titles at the same venue in 1999 as a 17-year-old prodigy. In Monday’s sold-out night session, which starts at 7:00pm (2300 GMT), Williams will once again be back in one of her favourite arenas wearing a typically flamboyant outfit.

According to the New York Times, Williams will wear a sparkling black bodice with a skirt comprised of six layers — one for every US Open title she has won.

Whether Williams is able to extend her US Open campaign beyond that match remains to be seen.

In her last outing at the Cincinnati Masters earlier this month, Williams was thumped 6-4, 6-0 by Britain’s Emma Raducanu — who herself was knocked out of the Australian Open by Kovinic in January.

Win or lose on Monday, Williams won’t be departing the US Open stage immediately.

On Saturday, organisers confirmed that she and elder sister Venus Williams had been given a wild card into the women’s doubles tournament, which starts on Wednesday.

Even then it remains unclear whether Williams will definitively call time on her career after her US Open campaign ends. In an interview with NBC’s Today show on Friday, Williams declined to confirm that she would retire in New York — and would not even rule out playing into 2023.

Serena Williams at US Open 2022: Tennis queen Serena Williams readies farewell, takes on Danka Kovinic at US Open 2022 opener, Follow Live Updates

“I think so, but who knows?” she told NBC when asked if she would retire.

Asked if she could possibly play next year’s Australian Open, she replied: “I don’t think so”, but added: “You never know. I’ve learned in my career, never say never.”

While Williams was likely to be the main focus of attention on day one of the tournament, the men’s draw gets under way with Russia’s defending champion Daniil Medvedev facing Stefan Koslov of the United States in the top half of the draw.

Medvedev, who ended Novak Djokovic’s dream of a calendar-year Grand Slam in last year’s US Open final, did not play at Wimbledon because of the championships’ ban on Russian players.

Britain’s Andy Murray, another veteran well into the twilight of his career, opens his campaign against Argentina’s 24th seed Francisco Cerundolo, 10 years after winning his first Grand Slam at the US Open.

Spain’s Rafael Nadal, chasing a fifth US Open crown and 23rd Grand Slam title overall, begins his campaign on Tuesday against Australia’s Rinky Hijikata.

Serena Williams at US Open 2022: Tennis queen Serena Williams readies farewell, takes on Danka Kovinic at US Open 2022 opener, Follow Live Updates

Nadal’s path to the title has been made easier by the absence of Djokovic, who remains barred from entry to the United States over his refusal to get vaccinated against Covid-19.

With Djokovic out of the frame, Nadal’s biggest opponent over the next fortnight may well be his own injury-prone body. The Spaniard has had to sit out the US Open four times in his career and there are once again doubts over his ability to survive a gruelling two weeks at Flushing Meadows.

Nadal has played just once since an abdominal injury forced him to withdraw from his Wimbledon semi-final with Nick Kyrgios — a first-up loss to Borna Coric in Cincinnati.

Nadal admitted on Friday that he had been protecting his injury in Cincinnati but had been able to practice with intensity in the build-up to the US Open.

“I take it very easy in the Cincinnati, too, in the practices. The match, I try my best without putting all the effort there on the serve,” Nadal said.

“I hope to be ready for the action. That’s the only thing that I can say.”

Serena Williams at US Open 2022: Tennis queen Serena Williams readies farewell, takes on Danka Kovinic at US Open 2022 opener, Follow Live Updates

Follow US Open 2022 Live updates on InsideSport.IN



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