US Open 2020: Serena v Pironkova battle 'shows how tough moms are'

By Sports Desk September 09, 2020

Serena Williams marvelled at beaten opponent and fellow mother Tsvetana Pironkova after their exhausting US Open quarter-final on Wednesday.

Williams is aiming to win a grand slam for the first time since giving birth to her daughter in 2017, having lost four major finals in the intervening period as she remains one championship shy of Margaret Court's record 24.

Yet Pironkova's story heading into their last-eight meeting was perhaps even more remarkable still.

The Bulgarian, who had a son in 2018, was playing for the first time since Wimbledon three years ago and incredibly defeated two seeds en route to meeting Williams.

She had control of this latest clash for long periods, too, leading by a set and a break at one stage, but Williams rallied to triumph 4-6 6-3 6-2.

The 38-year-old gushed in her praise of Pironkova afterwards, however, saying in her on-court interview: "It just shows me how tough moms are.

"Whenever you can birth a baby, then honestly you can do anything. I think we saw that with Tsvetana today. She played unbelievable.

"[Playing for the first time since 2017] is unbelievable. Wow. I couldn't even do that. I could barely win a match when I came back. She's incredible.

"That's why I say I'm most influenced by moms. Like how do you do it?

"You play a match, you go home and you're still changing diapers. It's like a double life. It's really surreal."

Williams will now take on Elise Mertens or Victoria Azarenka in the semi-finals on Thursday and is targeting a faster start.

She said: "I play again tomorrow. The good news is I'm used to playing back to back to back to back to back, so in a way I'd kind of be used to it.

"But at the same time, I need to work out how to start a little bit faster."

Related items

  • Del Potro admits to struggles in return bid, eyes Olympics Del Potro admits to struggles in return bid, eyes Olympics

    Juan Martin del Potro admitted he was struggling in his bid to return from knee surgery as he eyes next year's Olympics.

    Del Potro, 32, last played competitively 17 months ago and underwent a third right knee surgery in August.

    The 2009 US Open champion is still hoping to return, but admitted it had been challenging.

    "I am having a hard time coming back. I still stand by the desire that I have to continue playing," Del Potro told ESPN on Friday.

    "The reality is that it is difficult. I'm going to keep fighting as long as I feel like I want to continue."

    He added: "Due to the pandemic, the Olympics Games are next year and I'm excited to be there.

    "If I have to close my career, I think it would be to give myself an award to represent my country."

    A bronze medallist in men's singles at the 2012 Olympics, Del Potro won silver in Rio four years later, and said he hoped to retire on the court.

    The Argentinian also took time to remember the great Diego Maradona, who died on Wednesday.

    Del Potro recalled his meetings with Maradona during the 2016 Davis Cup final, which he helped Argentina win against Croatia in Zagreb.

    "In that Davis Cup final, every night, on my own without anyone knowing, I saw him 10, 15 minutes before going to sleep," he said.

    "He did it in private so that he doesn't disarm the team's structure."

    Del Potro added: "He sent me a very nice message after winning and I gave him my racquet."

  • Australian Open likely to be delayed, but only by a week or two Australian Open likely to be delayed, but only by a week or two

    The 2021 Australian Open is likely to be pushed back, but only for a week or two.

    Uncertainty has surrounded the scheduled first grand slam of next year amid the coronavirus pandemic.

    Reports had suggested the Australian Open could start in March or April, instead of its scheduled January 18 beginning.

    But Victorian minister for tourism, sport and major events Martin Pakula said on Wednesday a delay of a week or two was looking likely.

    "I think that's most likely, but it's not the only option," he told reporters, via the ABC.

    This year's Wimbledon was cancelled and the US Open was played behind closed doors, while the French Open was delayed before allowing a limited number of spectators.

    Victoria on Wednesday recorded its 26th consecutive day without a new coronavirus case.

    Pakula confirmed players would be tested and contained in a bubble during the Australian Open.

    "It's fair to say that Tennis Australia and the playing group have been encouraged to keep the total number of people coming in, not necessarily to a minimum, but to a lower number than would otherwise be the case," he said.

    "People need to bear in mind that there will be an extremely rigorous testing regime that will apply to the tennis players both before they leave the port that they're coming from and when they arrive, and I would imagine consistently during the time that they're in their bubble."

  • Russia president Putin congratulates mastery of ATP Finals champ Medvedev Russia president Putin congratulates mastery of ATP Finals champ Medvedev

    Daniil Medvedev's triumph at the ATP Finals has earned public acclaim from Russia president Vladimir Putin, who said he "demonstrated great preparation, mastery and truly fighting spirit".

    World number four Medvedev won a barnstorming final against Dominic Thiem in the last showpiece to be held at London's O2 Arena before the season-ending tournament moves to Turin in 2021.

    Medvedev came from a set down to defeat the US Open champion - who had beaten him en route to glory at Flushing Meadows - to secure the biggest title of his career.

    In doing so, Medvedev became the second Russian to win the event after Nikolay Davydenko in 2009.

    Putin posted a telegram on the Kremlin's official website on Tuesday, part of which was quoted by Russian news agency TASS, to congratulate Medvedev.

    "You went through the whole ATP Finals tournament brilliantly and, in one breath, you demonstrated great preparation, mastery and truly fighting spirit in beautiful and tense matches," the telegram read. 

    "Your victory continues great traditions of the Russian tennis school."

    Medvedev and Thiem each scored wins over both Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic to reach Sunday's showpiece.

    Speaking on Monday, Medvedev said it will be difficult for any of the chasing pack to become world number one while ever those two greats are still playing.

    "It's still a long way to get to the top of the line [in the ATP rankings]," Medvedev told TASS.

    "You have to complete the season better than all the rest to become the world's number one. Sometimes 8,000 points can be sufficient but on other occasions 12,000 points are not enough. 

    "It all depends on me; the more tournaments that I’ll have like in Paris and London, the more chances I’ll get to top of the ATP rankings."

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.