World No. 1 Iga Swiatek wins her third major title at the US Open
Serena Williams has never been able to shake the feeling that tennis is a game of inches.
Or, a game that can be won by inches.
On Friday, Serena Williams and Naomi Osaka became the first women to win a major title in the opening round of a new format (the US Open, formerly the Australian Open) since 2009, and only the second women in the Open Era to do so.
What does it mean for the future of the top women’s game, and the sport itself?
Tennis fans everywhere have been waiting for a long time for the next major breakthrough, and in what could be its most dramatic conclusion, it came in the first set of the women’s singles final (the tie-break that mattered most). Because of the way the tie-breakers played out, the final was only the third time in the Open Era that a grand slam final was decided by a tie-break.
It’s also the first time in 30 years that a female American played No. 1 in the Open Era.
“I had to stay in the moment and think of what I had to do to win the match,” Williams said. “It’s something that’s always in my mind.”
On Friday night, it was the moment that mattered most. The final was a game-within-a-game thriller that saw Williams serve out a chance to win in straight sets; it’s the kind of match everyone has talked about since the 2016 US Open.
Williams had been the overwhelming favorite since the start of the season, but despite a late run of victories, Williams’ game was simply not on. Her serve-hand selection was off, her confidence on a peak, and her body wasn’t up to the task.
“I don’t know whether to be happy or sad that it ended the way it did,” Williams said.
Williams, who won her last four matches in a row, was trying to match or set Roger Federer in the head-to-head ranking. With the tie-breaks