Chasing the seventh US Open crown and the first since 2014, Serena Williams has been working hard on her game at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. Entering Cincinnati and the US Open draws, Serena will seek the 24th Major at home, although there will be no crowd to support her quest, with the organizers implementing strict rules and measures due to the coronavirus.
Staying in a private home with her family, Serena is doing everything right to stay healthy and prepare for the upcoming matches in New York, practicing with world no. 6 Stefanos Tsitsipas a couple of days ago. Under a close eye of her coach Patrick Mouratoglou, Serena enjoyed the practice session with the young Greek who works at Mouratoglou's Academy in France, praising Stefanos and his hitting abilities.
Serena likes how Stefanos takes the ball early, delivering flat strokes that always keep you on the limit.
Serena Williams and Stefanos Tsitsipas practiced together in New York.
Serena will kick off the Cincinnati campaign against Arantxa Rus or Alison Van Uytvanck, hoping for a strong start and a deep run following the quarter-final loss in Lexington two weeks ago.
Competing for the first time since February, the 38-year-old defeated Bernarda Pera and her sister Venus, coming from a set down in both encounters to reach the quarters against Shelby Rogers. World no. 116 proved to be too tough to beat for Serena, with the 23-time Major champion suffering a 1-6, 6-4, 7-6 loss.
Williams was the dominant figure in the opener, controlling the pace and moving closer to the finish line in the closing stages of set number two. Still, Roger found the rhythm after the opener, dropping only 16 points behind the initial shot in sets two and three to keep the pressure on the other side of the net.
She broke Serena in the tenth game of the second set and stayed rock-solid in the final set, bringing it home in the tie break and becoming the first player ranked outside the top-100 with a win over Serena since Roland Garros 2012.
"I like Stefanos Tsitsipas' game a lot. He takes the ball super early and hits it really hard. I get a lot out of that he hits a little flatter than a lot of men, a lot of guys on the ATP. It obviously helps me on the practice court, as I have to lift my game so much.
And then it's also important for me to lift it because I don't want him to think, oh, 'I never want to hit with her again, she totally sucked. I need to not miss a shot ever.' I think it's kind of good for me to get back into that mental, you don't ever want to miss a shot ever," Serena Williams said.