Serena Williams’s US Open Loss

Well, it’s official: Serena Williams, the number one tennis player in the world and the sport’s most dominant player for 15 years now, will not win the US Open.

Her loss in Friday’s semifinal against Italian player Roberta Vinci was shocking for the 20,000 people in the Arthur Ashe Stadium and to the millions of fans watching at home and online. Yes, upsets happen and even the best of the best have mistakes, but Serena Williams not making the US Open was hardly even considered a possibility. This year, 2015, even marks the first year that the women’s finals sold out before the men’s. Everyone was waiting to see not if Serena Williams would win, but how she would win.

This loss will go down as one of the most stunning upsets in sports history.

While there are smaller matchups throughout the year, the four major tournaments in tennis are: the Australian Open, the French Open, Wimbledon, and the US Open; in that chronological order. Overall wins are counted as “Grand Slam” titles. These tournaments are played on different court surfaces: The French Open has clay courts, Wimbledon has grass, and the Australian and US Opens are both played on hard courts. Players who can compete at high levels on all three surfaces are considered rare and are ultimately praised upon.

It could be said that Williams favors hard courts, but her dominance proves she could wipe the floor with just about anyone, on any surface, on any court. There have definitely been some rough patches and injuries along the way, but for the most part, Williams has been unstoppable.

Her career has spanned over 16 years, from her first Grand Slam win in 1999 at age 17, to her win at Wimbledon earlier this year, at age 33. Out of the 25 major finals she has reached, she has won 21: six each at Wimbledon, the US Open, and the Australian, and three at the French.

There are eight other active women’s players who have won majors — and it takes all eight of them combined to match Williams’s 21 titles.

To put it mildly: the odds of beating Serena Williams at her own game, are not in anyone’s favor.

Beating Serena Williams — even just for a set, if not the match — is a particular point of pride. This holds especially true for Vinci, the woman who just knocked Williams out of the US Open, winning 2-6, 6-4, 6-4.

Williams was uncomfortably close to winning tennis’s most coveted prize: the Calendar Year Grand Slam.

The “Calendar Year Grand Slam” is when a player wins all four majors in the same year. – The last woman to achieve this was Steffi Graf in 1988.

Williams won all three of the previous majors this year, so her advancing to the US Open seemed obvious. Williams was one US Open away from winning this coveted title. Losing this semifinal, though, essentially means starting over.

However, this one loss comes no where close to negating Williams’s incredible career. She has ultimately dominated the sport. The statistics, her powerful playing, and the ways in which she’s changed the face of women’s tennis all speak for themselves. So yes, this is an unfortunate disappointment, but it shouldn’t overshadow the scope and incredible accomplishments of her career.

 

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