September 2, 2016
Juan Martin Del Potro and Serena Williams both registered important victories as they continued their recent success stories, using big serves when it mattered to get the job done.
For the popular Del Potro, his win over Steve Johnson means that he has reached the third round of the US Open for the first time since 2012.
Now people are starting to wonder whether he might be ready to repeat his US Open heroics of 2009.
The Argentine kept his cool to win the first-set tie-break 7-5, then maintained momentum to close out 6-3, 6-2.
It is easy to forget that the gentle giant with the booming forehand feared his career was over not long ago, after three surgeries on his left wrist.
Those dark days left him practically nowhere in the rankings – and even now he is only 142 in the world.
But the Olympic finalist has his confidence back, as evidenced by a stunning “hot dog” during his win over the 19th seed, Johnson.
When you serve fifteen aces and can back that up with an 85% success rate behind your first serve, it doesn’t hurt to push the boundaries a little.
And let’s face it, tennis is lucky to have the big man back. We’re enjoying every moment of his resurgence.
Meanwhile the Serena Williams serve, surely the greatest ever seen in women’s tennis, was also on song as she hit thirteen aces to mask a performance she otherwise regarded less than ideal.
In front of celebrities Beyonce and Jay-Z, Serena nevertheless achieved another historic milestone by defeating Vani King 6-3, 6-3.
She now has as many Grand Slam match victories in the Open era as the great Martina Navratilova – 306.
Serena admitted later: ‘Sometimes I don’t even know that I’m hitting these milestones. But some of them I’m really proud of and it’s really cool to win 306.
‘I feel like I made a lot of errors but the serve was the best part of my game and that’s a good sign, because it was what I was doing least well coming into the tournament.’
With her shoulder now ‘stable,’ as she now describes her recent injury, there is no reason why Williams can’t go all the way – if she maintains the right mindset.