By: Clark Savage, Jr.
The ongoing media blitz surrounding Serena Williams remains on full display on the day after Labor Day.
The tennis superstar “tries to move one step closer to her record-tying 24th Grand Slam singles title when she faces China’s Wang Qiang in Tuesday’s 2019 U.S. Open quarterfinals,” CBS News reports breathlessly. “The match begins at 7 p.m. ET from the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing, N.Y.”
Williams “rolled her right ankle during Sunday’s straight-sets win over Petra Martic but still fired 38 winners,” CBS continued. “Bookmakers list Williams as a -480 favorite (risk $480 to win $100) in the latest Williams vs. Qiang odds, with China’s No. 1 player getting +360 (risk $100 to win $360) as the underdog. You can also pick how many sets the match lasts, the exact score of the first set, and whether Williams will cover a 5.5-game spread. This is the first-ever meeting between Williams and Qiang, who has not lost a set this tournament. Before you make any 2019 U.S. Open picks for the women’s quarterfinals, you’ll want to see the tennis predictions from legendary expert Gavin Mair.”
At the same time, USA Today joyously proclaimed that “There will be a new women’s champion at the 2019 US Open. That much was assured when 21-year-old Naomi Osaka, the world’s top-ranked player and defending champion, was done in by a crafty, point-building barrage from No. 13 Belinda Bencic of Switzerland on Monday afternoon, a development that doesn’t figure to hurt the title aspirations of Serena Williams one bit.”
Osaka’s quarterfinal exit, the national newspaper reported, means that Williams “will not have to face the person who defeated her in the controversy-marred championship match of a year ago. It also means that the four top seeds in the women’s draw are out, leaving Elina Svitolina, a fifth-seeded Ukrainian, as the highest ranked remaining player.”
Williams, who is ranked as the tournament’s number eight seed, “has been stuck on 23 Grand Slam singles titles for two and a half years, her last major triumph coming in Australia in 2017,” noted the USA Today piece. “Since giving birth to her daughter two years ago, she has finished as runner-up three consecutive times, denying her a 24th title that would tie her for the all-time mark with Margaret Court.”
The tournament’s web site, usopen.org, pointed out that “as is usually the case when Williams steps onto a tennis court, another page of history is within her reach this evening, as a win tonight would be Williams’ 100th US Open victory, which would put her just a single win behind Chris Evert’s all-time US Open record of 101. Standing in the way of that milestone is Wang, who’s made some history of her own here, reaching the quarterfinals of a major for the first time in her career. The 27-year-old Chinese star is the first woman from her country to reach the quarters here since countrywoman Peng Shuai was a US Open semifinalist in 2014.”