That she still loves to win, Williams demonstrated in an exciting duel of 2 hours and 27 minutes. The American took the first set with a steel-hard ace in an exciting tiebreak.
Anett Kontaveit, the number 2 in the world, hit back in the second set with two quick breaks, but the Estonian was killed in the deciding set due to the firepower of the 23-time grand slam winner.
Williams, who recently announced her tennis retirement after the US Open, is not saying goodbye right away. In the third round, she will compete against Australian Ajla Tomljanovic, who defeated Russian Yevgenia Rodina in three sets.
“I’m a pretty good player,” Williams grinned when asked how she beat the world’s number two. “I like a challenge. The last matches everything is right. I am very competitive and see it as a bonus. I have nothing left to prove.”
With 23 grand slam titles on her record, the American indeed has nothing left to prove. But does she dare dream of a 24th major after 2 victories, which would bring her on the same level as record holder Margaret Court?
“I can’t think that far yet,” Williams said. “I have fun and I enjoy it.” The omens are already favorable: for the first time since Roland Garros 2021, Williams was able to book 2 victories in a row.
Against Kontaveit, who booked 5 of her 6 WTA titles on hard courts, she faced a tough challenge. But the audience at Arthur Ash Stadium gave Williams wings. Tiger Woods and Lindsey Vonn, among others, propelled the American to victory.
“I’ve never seen anything like it,” Kontaveit stammered after her defeat. “The crowd wasn’t really against me, but they just wanted Serena to win, so it wasn’t a personal attack on me.”