Serena Williams’ next opponent feels 'no pressure' at US Open originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington
NEW YORK - This may be the only time you will ever hear a world No. 2 ranked player say they have no pressure against an opponent.
When Serena Williams is part of the equation, it makes sense. After Estonia’s Anett Kontaveit won her first round match at the U.S. Open on Monday night, she said she didn’t feel like she had any pressure going up against the GOAT.
“I think it's going to be one of those matches this year, that I haven't had too many [of], where I just have no pressure on me,” Kontaveit told the press. “I'll just get to enjoy and play as good as I can on the day.”
The two are scheduled to take on Arthur Ashe Stadium on Wednesday at 7 p.m. ET, marking the first time Kontaveit has taken on Williams. Kontaveit even admits she was rooting for Williams to take home the W in her first round
“I was really rooting for her to win today,” Kontaveit said. “Really happy to get to play against her on [Arthur Ashe Stadium]... at night, in her element.”
What Kontaveit must realize is not only is she playing against Williams but also the world’s largest tennis stadium filled with “Rena’s Army,” the 23-time Grand Slam champion’s diehard fan base.
Let’s get to know the Serena Williams-Anett Kontaveit matchup:
Who is Anett Kontaveit?
Anett Kontaveit, a 26-year-old from Estonia, is the No. 2 ranked player in the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA).
Kontaveit has not had a great 2022 despite her high ranking on tour. At all three Grand Slams so far this year, she has faced elimination in either the first or second round.
Much of her success came in the last quarter of the 2021 season, winning four-of-eight tournaments, leading her to be the first Estonian to crack the WTA Top 10.
Kontaveit has faced quite a bit of adversity this year, dealing with lasting effects from getting COVID-19 in April, which she said has impacted her training due to extreme fatigue. Additionally, she had to part ways with her Russian coach Dmitry Tursunov because he was having trouble getting visas for travel.
"The reason is that, since he has a Russian passport, it is very difficult for him to get visas at the moment, meaning he can't accompany me to many tournaments, '' Kontaveit told Estonian outlet ERR. “I still feel I need a coach who can accompany me and who does not have so many practical issues,” she added.
What does Serena Williams have to do to win?
It’s no secret that Serena Williams is not moving nearly as well as she was a few years ago.
Lucky for her, her serve is so solid that she could avoid those long points with strong serving plus a crushing second ball.
Williams has also proven that when she’s returning well, she could also dominate play with her aggressive positioning.
The good news for Williams is that no one, including the tournament's No. 2 seed will be intimidating her on the court.
So for Williams, the match is literally on her racquet.
When does Serena Williams play Anett Kontaveit?
Serena Williams and Anett Kontaveit will play at Arthur Ashe Stadium on Wednesday at 7 p.m. ET.
Who is expected to win?
Anett Kontaveit is a heavy favorite to beat Serena Williams, according to PointsBet. Here is a look at the odds:
Serena Williams +195
Anett Kontaveit -250
Editor's note: All odds are provided by our partner, PointsBet. PointsBet is our Official Sports Betting Partner and we may receive compensation if you place a bet on PointsBet for the first time after clicking our links.