There are some matches where a very early theme sets the tone, this was one.
One of missed opportunity and issues with the second serve were quite costly. Elina didn’t play badly but against Serena opportunities cannot be wasted and probably a mystery to her how she found herself 1-4 down after making good in-roads.
Serena began and the nerves were there, 15-40 down on serve but after an eight minute service game she held.
Svitolina up 40-0 on serve and the double faults and service return winners began to haunt her. A 9 minute game and she was broken.
2-0 Serena and another nervy game from the American who this time found herself 0-40 on serve but held.
From there on in the set saw itself out. Serena found her range but Svitolina was playing with the breaks on. 0/6 on break points in the first set which Serena took 6-3.
When looking for a reaction a love service hold couldn’t be better with Svitolina taking a 1-0 lead.
I don’t think there is anything more demoralising in tennis when you’ve missed opportunities. Svitolina moved on and did up her level but still Serena’s was unmatched. There was a rally at 1-1 30-30 and I thought wow this is some hitting from Elina and Serena wins the point with beautiful power and precision and went on to break serve.
The brilliance of Serena Williams shone through and at 3-1 it felt like this was it for Elina who was broken once again. The level of hitting from Serena gave me goosebumps, the chase downs were excellent.
A positive tournament for Elina once again but lack of variety is a problem. She ‘defends well’ but that can be a misconstrued phrase to describe because if you take a hammer to a brick wall it will eventually crumble and Serena was that hammer.
A forehand that painted the lines took us to 5-1 with Serena one game away from another shot at history.
She didn’t have to worry about serving it out. A backhand down the line sealed an historic win. It was one of those of matches where it was shaky to begin but once she got going that level wasn’t going to be reached. I don’t think anyone on the tour would have stopped her.
101 for Serena who is one away from a 24th Grand Slam title and a record 102 match wins at the US Open!