September 6, 2016
Serena Williams has now won more Grand Slam matches than Roger Federer.
For those who place absolute faith in statistics, that makes her the greatest tennis player of all time – man or woman.
You can’t argue with the numbers. When Williams notched her 308th Grand Slam match win by beating Yaroslava Shvedova 6-2, 6-3, she left the great Federer behind.
Serena has also won more Grand Slam singles titles than Roger. A 23rd success here at Flushing Meadows will even take her clear of the great Steffi Graf of Germany.
Roger has “just” seventeen Slam singles crowns, so he hasn’t been as dominant as his female equivalent in this, the “golden era.”
And yet, and yet…Federer’s unparalelled grace and artistry makes him the greatest in the eyes of many, never mind the stats.
Williams has awesome serving power, a deceptive mobility and an incredible will to win. Those qualities have given her true greatness and she deserves all the plaudits she gets.
That fearsome serve, the finest the female game has ever seen by some distance, was at play again during her latest victory.
Never mind eleven aces, a 93% conversion rate on first serves showed that even when an opponent does manage to return, that receiver is only seconds from the Williams coup de grace. Serena has only faced one break point all tournament.
‘I really can’t believe it,’ she admitted. ‘I’ve never really served this consitently.’
And if she continues to do so, even against sterner tests such as Simona Halep next time out, then the title and more history will ultimately be hers.
It won’t stop many people from continuing to claim that Roger Federer was and always will be the more complete tennis player.
But Serena, you suspect, will be able to live with that. And if she ever wants to argue her corner, the history books will be on her side…308 and counting.
‘It’s a huge number,’ she pointed out with every justification. ‘I think it’s very significant actually. I think it’s something that really talks about the length of my career, in particular.’
Meanwhile Andy Murray beat Grigor Dimitrov 6-1, 6-2, 6-2 in scintillating style, to earn the right to face Kei Nishiori in the quarters.
But perhaps the most mouthwatering quarter-final of all is Juan Martin Del Potro against Stan Wawrinka.
Will there be another Murray v Del Potro clash coming soon? Don’t bet against it. The US Open is serving up some great contests now.