‘Just Serena’: Williams’ upset win at US Open keeps the legend advancing in final days of her storied career
Alessandra Honda began the process of building her legacy at Wimbledon in 2015, with a commanding performance over No. 11 seed Elina Svitolina. Honda ended it with a thrilling win over then-caretaker Caroline Wozniacki, moving into the finals against Serena Williams.
Serena, however, wasn’t prepared to let Honda finish her in the third round.
Serena’s best chance at winning the 2017 US Open may have come against the same opponent Honda faced in the 2015 final, the same opponent who the American is facing Saturday, in their own semifinal: Elina Svitolina.
Svitolina – the first-round loser in the quarterfinal against Karolina Pliskova – will be one of the hottest draws of the tournament Saturday afternoon. And it’s pretty clear that she wants to be there.
So Honda, who’s been playing tennis almost two full seasons since winning the French Open in September, has a tough fight ahead.
“I don’t think anybody really understands how hard it is for the women in a year like this,” Honda said. “For Serena – who has been there for so long and the history of her wins – to play another great tennis match, they have to be really focused, a little bit more so than in the past, and play better tennis for sure.”
Honda is making her first appearance in a major final since defeating Williams to win the 2014 French Open.
“It feels really good,” Honda said. “I’m really happy for this opportunity, it means a lot to me and the fans to be in the final, so I’m really happy for this opportunity.”
Honda’s win in the US Open final was a shocker. As is typical of how she has played the last two years, Honda got off to a slow start, and then started to play a more aggressive game, leading to a 5-1, 6-