Serena Williams looks to move one step closer to another attempt at a historic 24th slam when she faces Caty McNally on Wednesday. There is a 20 year age gap between the pair, with McNally one of the rising stars on the US women’s tennis scene.
McNally has mostly been a fixture on the US ITF scene this year, bar a few qualifying events and wildcard entries at WTA level. She showed some potential by qualifying for Wimbledon and built on that with a semi final run in Washington. It wasn’t the toughest of runs there but a win over Su Wei Hsieh is always impressive for young players who may not be used to Hsieh’s unorthodox style. She cruised to a straight sets win over Timea Bacsinszky in round one, dropping just five games in the process.
Serena once again exerted her dominance over Maria Sharapova, crushing the Russian 6-1 6-1 in just under an hour. While matches between the pair are rarely competitive, the manner in which she tore apart Sharapova is still incredibly impressive. She was in nearly every return game and was deadly efficient on break points in both instances. She saved all 5 faced while taking 5 of the 6 she had. “I think I was able to zone in, especially down breakpoints, not letting her in the match because she’s the kind of player that keeps going,” Serena said. “Even towards the end, she just wants to keep fighting. One point here or there, she could have won at least another game.”
“It’s really important because it’s good to have tough matches. Well, it’s good to get through tough matches, especially for me. I really sometimes tend to start slow. It actually almost helps me.” Serena said of her opener. While it wasn’t a particularly tough match on court, the attention and hype surrounding their encounters is likely to have done more for Serena than a standard crushing performance would have.
How Serena deals with another young up and comer will be interesting to see. The longer she stays on tour, the more first time opponents she will play. McNally likes to play attacking tennis and also approaches the net a lot more than many other young players do these days. Unfortunately for her, it would be that is the perfect opponent for Serena who still can outhit other power players just as well as she always could.
Prediction – Serena Williams in straight sets