Just a couple of days after losing in the US Open semi-final to Victoria Azarenka, the 23-time Major champion Serena Williams has been working hard on clay at Mouratoglou Tennis Academy in France. The three-time Roland Garros champion will compete in Paris in two weeks, trying to add that elusive 24th Major title to her tally and catch Margaret Court's record.
Seeking the seventh US Open crown, Serena gave her best in the semi-final against her great friend Victoria Azarenka, making a perfect start but suffering a 1-6, 6-3 6-3 loss in an hour and 55 minutes. It was only the sixth Major semi-final defeat for Serena from 39 encounters, feeling positive about her game and deciding to travel to Europe and give it a go on the Parisian clay.
Williams has been seeking the 24th Major title ever since the Australian Open 2017 when she claimed the last crown, losing all four finals at Wimbledon and the US Open in 2018 and 2019. The American had to work hard in New York this year, competing without the partisan crowd behind her and still giving her best against every rival to go as far as possible.
From the third round, a grand champion had to fight hard against Sloane Stephens, Maria Sakkari and Tsvetlana Pironkova, prevailing in three sets in each of those matches to advance into the last four. Despite an emphatic start against Vika, Serena couldn't stay on that level for the entire clash, losing ground in sets two and three to finish another Major run without the trophy in her hands.
Serena Williams will seek first notable Roland Garros result since 2016.
Playing on a high level for the previous three weeks, Vika bounced back after a terrible opener to defeat Serena, advancing into the first Major final in seven years.
Williams had the upper hand in the first set, clinching three breaks of serve and controlling the pace to wrap up this part of the match in no time at all. Ready to fight until the end, Victoria shifted into a higher gear in set number two, serving well and stealing Serena's serve twice for a 6-3.
The third set was a high-quality contest, and it brought an early break for Azarenka who defended her games nicely to move over the top and set the title clash against Naomi Osaka. "I made a strong start but Victoria kept fighting.
She raised her game and played better and better. Maybe I took a little too much off the gas at some point, but full credits to her. It's disappointing, but I did what I could today. Other times, I have been close and I could have done better. Today, I feel like I gave a lot. I'm going to travel to Europe and play Roland Garros," Serena Williams said.