Is Serena Williams finally on the verge of equaling the Grand Slam record at Roland Garros?
It’s been over four years since Serena Williams won the last of her 23 Grand Slam titles at a time when it seemed inevitable that she would match, and ultimately surpass Margaret Court’s 24 crown record without too much trouble.
But the 39-year-old’s 11-tournament drought since returning from the birth of her daughter in 2017 could now be the best chance she’s ever to match with Court, as the Roland-Garros draw has truly ended. open for her. over the past week.
The second-round exit of world number 1 and seed Ash Barty at the hands of Magda Linette added to the withdrawal of Naomi Osaka to pave the way somewhat for some of the other biggest names, and since Karolina Pliskova, Elina Svitolina , Petra Kvitova, Aryna Sabalenka, Bianca Andreescu and many others have also gone on the sidelines, there are very few serious hopes left to fight for the title in the women’s singles.
This means Williams enters Sunday’s fourth round clash with Kazakh Elena Rybakina as the 6/1 second favorite to win the lot with Betfred. Only defending champion Iga Swiatek (peers) has a shorter odds than the American, and former seven-time Grand Slam champion Mats Wilander believes Williams has been in her best shape for some time as she finally looks to reach number 24.
SERENA IS SCHEDULED TO HAVE A SERIOUS RACE AT NO. 24
“Serena is playing very well,” Wilander told Eurosport after her third round victory over Danielle Collins. “It was a tough game, but she hits the ball well, she moves well, she adjusted her tactics a bit, so it was a very good performance.
“I think she feels more comfortable, in that she doesn’t panic when she’s down. When she has to serve a game or serve the first set, that’s no longer a problem. She returned to the state of mind of this great champion, which is why she won 23 majors. I think that sounds great for Serena Williams.
Former Australian Open champion Victoria Azarenka will start Sunday’s match on the Philippe-Chatrier court against Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, the Belarusian being one of Williams’ biggest challengers for the title. Swiatek, meanwhile, will face Ukraine’s Marta Kostyuk on Monday, the 20-year-old favorite seeking to defend the crown she won by beating Sofia Kenin in the 2020 final.
Williams and Swiatek are both in the bottom half of the table, which means the pair are currently set to meet in what would be an epic semi-final. And with two more victories under her belt to underpin her unparalleled experience, who knows what form Serena might be in if that scenario presents itself.
This elusive 24th Grand Slam title could be much closer than it recently appeared.