US is wide open for Serena Williams


TENNIS:TO PROMOTE the 2012 US Open, New York’s buses carry images of last year’s losing finalists, Rafael Nadal and Serena Williams. Nadal, injured, is not here but Williams, bouncing with fitness, brio and pedigree that mocks her number four seeding, most definitely is.

She is due to play her 22-year-old fellow American Coco Vandeweghe tomorrow and then probably Maria Kirilenko, seeded 14th, and the former world number one Caroline Wozniacki on the way to a semi-final against the second seed Agnieszka Radwanska, whom she beat at Wimbledon last month. Yet, for all her achievements, for all that she has beaten life-threatening illness, the media glare has fallen more kindly on Kim Clijsters, who was greeted with predictable and deserved gush on the occasion of her farewell grand-slam tournament.

Just about every other player was asked to say how wonderful was the smiling Belgian who was runner-up here when world number one in 2003 and won the second of her three US Open titles as a wild card three years ago.

Among active players, no one has won more than Clijsters’ 31 titles on hard courts – Williams has 30. But history is there for the making. Only seven players aged 30 or over have won a slam title in the open era: Margaret Court (three), Martina Navratilova (three), Chris Evert (two), Billie Jean King (two), Ann Jones, Virginia Wade and Williams, who did it at Wimbledon this year. It is Serena’s time. Still. – (Guardian service)

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