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If Monday night was a celebration of Serena Williams’ past, as she was serenaded by the crowd at Arthur Ashe Stadium following a 6-3, 6-3 win over Danka Kovinic, then Wednesday was a reminder of how dominant her present still can be.

Facing the No. 2 seed Anett Kontaveit, Williams looked even better than her first round win, taking down a very game and very talented 26-year-old in a thrilling three set match, 7-6, 2-6, 6-2. The first set was a back-and-forth affair, with neither player able to do much on the other’s serve early, before each got a late break in back-to-back games setting up a tense tiebreaker that saw Williams win 7-4, as she found her service game and some terrific backhands to take the opening set (and fire up Tiger Woods in the process).

The second set was all Kontaveit, as she seemed to loosen up some and just let it rip, hitting some impressive passing shots while also frustrating Williams by drawing points out with great defense and making her play the entire court.

Serena seemed willing to let the second set go after being broken twice, conserving some energy for a third and final set, which proved to be a wise move. The legend jumped out to a quick 2-0 lead, breaking Kontaveit in a tight second game, which was a common theme of the match as both players found themselves regularly being taken into multiple deuces in service games.

Kontaveit would break back, but give her service game right back to Serena, putting Williams back up a break. This time she would verify it by shaking off a break point chance and then winning (again) in a deuce game to go up 5-2.

Serena would break Kontaveit at love in the next game to win the match, as the 2-seed seemed resigned to her fate after battling Williams (and the crowd) throughout, watching as Williams blasted one more backhand winner up the line to advance to the third round.

It is a truly incredible story, as the 40-year-old Williams continues to dazzle with her play, with this being, by far, her most impressive performance of the year in which she’s played sparingly. Against a very good and pretty on-form opponent, she moved much better than in her opening match and was able to exchange long rallies and survive long games to advance. Kontaveit seemed to lose that same focus she had in the second set during the third, and Williams took advantage by pouncing on second serves, as she has throughout her career.

Up next for Serena in what figures to be her final US Open is Ajla Tomljanovic of Australia, as the bottom half of the draw looks wide open after some early upsets have taken out a number of the seeded opponents, with none bigger than Williams taking down Kontaveit.

Source: https://uproxx.com/sports/serena-williams-anett-kontaveit-us-open-video-highlights/

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