Serena Williams advances to third round of US Open

By Brandon Griggs, Amir Vera and Meg Wagner, CNN

Updated 5:50 p.m. ET, September 2, 2022
30 Posts
Sort byDropdown arrow
10:19 p.m. ET, August 31, 2022

Serena Williams won her singles match tonight. Here's when — and who — she'll play next.

From CNN's Jill Martin

(Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
(Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

Serena Williams defeated world No. 2 Anett Kontaveit of Estonia 7-6(4), 2-6, 6-2 in the second round of the US Open in front of a packed, raucous crowd at Arthur Ashe Stadium on Wednesday night.

Now, she's on to the third round of the tournament. Williams will next face Australia’s Ajla Tomljanovic.

Tomljanovic, who was playing at the same time as Williams on Wednesday, defeated Russian Evgeniya Rodina 1-6, 6-2, 7-5. 

The schedule of matches has not yet been released, but the third round begins on Friday.

But that's not all: In addition to singles, Williams also has women’s doubles on her US Open agenda, teaming up with her sister Venus Williams.

They are scheduled to take the court for their first-round match at Arthur Ashe Stadium tomorrow at 7 p.m. ET. They'll play the Czech duo of Lucie Hradecka and Linda Noskova.

5:35 p.m. ET, September 2, 2022

Serena Williams on playing at this level now: "I'm just Serena"

From CNN's Amir Vera

In a post-game interview after her win in the US Open, Serena Williams was asked if she was surprised at her level of play at the moment.

I mean, I'm just Serena," Williams said after a chuckle.

The crowd erupted in cheers after the quick comment.

The tennis legend — who is 40 years old and mom to Olympia, who turns 5 tomorrow — continued: "Really I just wanted to just keep trying, see what I could do. Just do my best. I was just really excited, to be honest."

10:11 p.m. ET, August 31, 2022

Serena Williams: "I have absolutely nothing to lose"

From CNN's Jill Martin

Serena Williams, in an on-court interview, was asked how she just beat world No. 2 Anett Kontaveit to advance to the third round of the US Open.

“Well, I’m a pretty good player,” she said, laughing. “This is what I do best. I love the challenge, and I’m rising to the challenge. I haven’t played many matches but I’ve been practicing really well.”

Williams was asked how she’s balancing her emotions with what this tournament means to her this year with wanting to win and with her competitive edge.

“Honestly I’m just looking at it as a bonus,” Williams said. “I don’t have anything to prove. I don’t have anything to win. And I have absolutely nothing to lose. Honestly I never get to play like this, since ‘98, really. Literally I’ve had an X on my back since ’99. It’s kind of fun, and I really enjoy just coming out and enjoying it, and it’s been a long time since I’ve been able to do that.”
10:00 p.m. ET, August 31, 2022

Former tennis champ on Serena Williams' win: "She inspires me to be fearless"

From CNN's Amir Vera

Chris Evert, a former American tennis player who commentated during tonight's US Open match, said Williams' win over Anett Kontaveit was inspiring.

"I'm a 67-year-old woman and she inspires me to be fearless," Evert said.

Evert earlier mentioned how Williams' style of play blew her way.

Evert is tied with Williams for the most women’s singles championships at the US Open after 1968 with six each.

5:35 p.m. ET, September 2, 2022

"The greatest": Praise erupts on Twitter after Serena Williams' win

From CNN's Amir Vera

Immediately after Serena Williams upset Anett Kontaveit, people praised the 40-year-old for her stunning performance.

"The Greatest," tweeted Olympian track star Allyson Felix.

"Not done yet @serenawilliams," tweeted Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry.

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul, who was at the game, said it was an honor to watch Williams.

American entrepreneur Jeremy Padawer compared Williams to other sports greats like Tom Brady and Michael Jordan.

10:09 p.m. ET, August 31, 2022

Oprah's message for Serena Williams following her win: "Thank you for changing the face of the game"

From CNN's Amir Vera

Serena Williams received a special message from a special friend, Oprah Winfrey, after her win Wednesday.

Here's Oprah's message, which was played at Arthur Ashe stadium:

"What is there to say? Years went by in a blink. '98 feels like yesterday. You've given us so much. All we can do is thank you. Thank you for making the bright lights brighter and the Big Apple bigger.
Thank you for showing us how to be graceful, powerful, fearless. Thank you for dressing to the 9s and bringing your dancing shoes. Thank you for turning Centre Court into Center Stage, for bringing the house down. Thank you for showing us what it means to come back and for never, ever backing down.
Thank you for changing the face of the game, for inspiring the next generation. Thank you for thinking outside the lines and encouraging us to evolve. Thank you for showing us how to love the sport and always loving us back.
Just know whatever you do next, we'll be watching. With love, all of us."
9:59 p.m. ET, August 31, 2022

Serena Williams wins

(Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
(Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

Tennis legend Serena Williams has upset second-seeded Anett Kontaveit, 7-6 (4), 2-6, 6-2 to keep her US Open title hopes alive in what may be her final tournament.

Williams' chances seemed to dim against the younger and favored Estonian after the second set, which Kontaveit won easily, 6-2. Kontaveit was striking winners left and right, while Williams began making more unforced errors.

But then the third set started, and Williams seemed to find a new gear. She struck the ball with fresh authority and outlasted Kontaveit in long rallies.

"I'm loving this crowd," Williams said afterwards. "There's still a little left in me. I love a challenge."

"After I lost the second set, I thought, 'Oh my goodness. I need to give my best effort, because this could be it,'" she said.

Williams has won 23 Grand Slam titles in a brilliant professional career that has spanned more than a quarter century. Many experts consider her the most dominant player in tennis history.

But if she felt pressure tonight, she didn't show it.

"I don't have anything to prove," Williams added after the match, "... and I have absolutely nothing left to lose."

9:52 p.m. ET, August 31, 2022

Some celebs are on edge during the final set

From CNN's Amir Vera

With the second round of the US Open in its third and final set, many are on edge hoping for Serena Williams to come out victorious.

"Come on @serenawilliams," singer Kelly Rowland tweeted.

"Do it @sereneawilliams!!!" professional baseball player Jason Kipnis tweeted.

University of South Carolina head basketball coach Dawn Staley tweeted she's praying for Williams.

Olympic gold medalist Morolake Akinosun wondered what it was like to be in Anett Kontaveit's shoes, playing against someone everyone is hoping to win on one of the world's largest sports stages.

Retired wrestler Ric Flair said watching Serena Williams during the second round of the US Open is "Better Than The Academy Awards."

"This Evening As I Watch Is Unbelievable," Ric Flair tweeted. "Win Or lose You Will Be The Best Of All Time. Keep On Keeping On!"

9:26 p.m. ET, August 31, 2022

Serena Williams takes an early lead in the deciding set

From CNN's Brandon Griggs

Serena Williams put her difficult second set behind her and came out with renewed energy in the deciding set, striking the ball with authority and jumping out to a 3-1 lead.

“Serena has upped her game,” ESPN’s Chris Evert said early in the set. 

Indeed. Williams cut down on her mistakes and drilled one ground stroke after another deep in the court, pushing Anett Kontaveit back on her heels. She also began winning a larger share of their long rallies.

The crowd came alive again, too.

On one key point in Game 2, Kontaveit hit a shot that appeared wide to many in the crowd. But the replay system showed her ball had barely grazed the line for a winner.

When the crowd booed the call, Williams raised her hand in a plea for quiet and respect for her opponent – showing why she is viewed by rivals as one of the most gracious players in the game.

But Williams later blew a 40-love lead while serving in Game 3, allowing Kontaveit back in the set. This match is far from decided.