The hard truth of life of any athlete is that the end of his or her passion is imminent at some point. Serena’s drive for success has carried her to a 27 year professional career. But even the most hardened and optimistic of Serena fans know that adding to her 23 major titles is a tall order. She faces Emma Raducanu of Great Britain in Round one of the Cincinnati Open in Ohio, who is on somewhat of a career slump(high standards set by herself proving her worst enemy). One observation from Toronto is that Serena’s serve is back to it’s 10 to 15 years ago best. The legend out aced Emma 7 to 5 which isn’t shabby for player with just two matches for a whole year. It is in the long rallies that she struggles. Now check out first set 2-1 Raducanu 15-0. The early break didn’t faze Serena. The shot variation on point and apt. Shortening the point is the key for American is she was to win this one(the 21 year age gap demanded it). Break point were aplenty for the Brit. It was a matter of time before she went double break up in the set. At 4-1 she fought back, the forehand doing the damage in the deuce game. It sadly would be the only time she would break Emma in this match. Emma’s strength is in serving wide on the ad court but on 4-3(30-0) she showed she can risk it and go to Serena’s forehand on the deuce court. Risky in that Serena’s forehand was electric in this set but the serve opened the court up nicely. Emma taking it 6-4.
Second set started really badly for Williams, losing serve in the first game never the best way. The groundstrokes from both were good like at 1-0 Raducanu first point but unlike first set Serena didn’t switch up staying on the baseline which cost her here. The second set also saw Williams’s second serve points won drop significantly to sub 20%. I would personally have loved to have Serena take more chances on the second serve, going for the big Ace then. That didn’t happen unfortunately. It was effectively match over with Emma going 4-0 up on the double break. Now check out how she broke to get the triple break on advantage on deuce. The serve wasn’t all that bad going wide away from Emma but the lack of pace gave the Brit the chance to get the angle on the backhand right. So how do you come back from a triple break down? First thing, believe in your mind you can come back. Serena’s head unfortunately dropped. Secondly, put pressure on that second serve of your opponent. Serena never pushed Emma to deuce on her serve showing she never threatened on the second serve well enough.6-0 in the second is a boost for Emma going into her next match with another Tour veteran Victoria Azarenka. This could well be Serena’s penultimate career match( or I am just an old pessimist). Enjoy her while father time permits.