- US Open, Day Eight
Serena in a league of her ownAlex Livie September 4, 2012
The US Open website has posed the question "who can take a set off Serena Williams?" I don't think that question will be answered at this year's US Open.
Williams dropped just 12 games in reaching the fourth round. That number has not changed following her 6-0 6-0 demolition of Andrea Hlavackova. It was not as if Hlavackova played badly, she simply bumped into a player at the top of her game.
After a spell in the wilderness due to injuries, Williams has bounced back this year and has had a golden summer that has yielded Wimbledon and Olympic Games glory. It appears as if the hunger and desire has returned and that, coupled with her stunning ability, it is a lethal cocktail for the rest of the women's game.
It would appear Williams feels she is improving. "I think I played really well today, I haven't played like this in the whole tournament," she said.
Williams has scores to settle at Flushing Meadows. She suffered a shock defeat to Sam Stosur last year, which followed on from her infamous defeat against Kim Clijsters in 2009 when she was effectively defaulted by being docked a point on match point down for verbally abusing a line judge. The way she has gone about her business this fortnight suggests she is ready to add a fourth US Open title to her trophy cabinet. Should she do it, that would take her to 15 slams.
Her current tally of 14 means she is behind only Martina Navratilova (18), Chris Evert (18) and Steffi Graf (22) in terms of slam winners in the Open era. Williams is now 30, but the level at which she is playing at the moment means she is virtually untouchable. She has insisted she has no intention of following her friend Andy Roddick into retirement any time soon and if that is the case, there is the strong likelihood that she will pass Navratilova and Evert.
If she plays for another four years and remains injury free, there is even the possibility of catching Graf. Williams would be the strong favourite at three of the four slams. The clay of Paris nullifies the weapons at her disposal and she has not won at Roland Garros since 2002. But on the concrete of Australia and USA and grass of Wimbledon, on current form Williams has the titles at her mercy. If she were to win two of those per year for the next four years that would take her to 23 (if she wins this week).
It is tough to compare eras, but the greatest player of this era could statistically speaking become the greatest of all time. If that were to happen, it would be endorsed by What the Deuce.