If any tennis promoters out there are looking to start a two-player barnstorming tour, they might want to consider booking Venus Williams and Petra Kvitova. These two women, it seems, can’t play a bad match. After the slow start and the pressure that a player like Petra can apply, Venus simply did what she is doing all season long. Over the last four, five, six—who knows, maybe 10—years, Venus has played well enough to stay in matches like this, but has struggled to win them. At the Open in 2016, she lost a third-set tiebreaker to Karolina Pliskova, and she had lost two deciding tiebreakers to Kvitova in their last three matches. But this year has been different. Venus isn’t just playing well; she’s winning. After Tuesday night, no one has more victories at the Slams in 2017 than she does. Rather than lose this deciding tiebreaker, she won it, and she won the match, 6-3, 3-6, 7-6 (2).
What, in the end, was the difference in this excellent, compelling contest which could have gone either way? It was simple: Venus had her forehand clicking in the tiebreaker, and Kvitova didn’t. Venus hit four strong forehands while Petra made four errors from that side. Venus explained: “In the tiebreaker, you just want to create space. So when you see that gap opening bigger in your favor, it feels amazing. There is a point where you say, I’m not ever letting this go. That’s kind of what I felt like out there.” There isn’t much that separates Venus and Kvitova. And for both women, that’s what makes finding a tiny edge over the other so satisfying—enough, in Venus’ case, to make her want to play forever. It’s winning matches like these that keeps Venus playing. It’s witnessing matches like these that keeps us watching.
Denis Shapovalov’s fantastic run ended. The 18-year-old Canadian player lost to Pablo Carreno Busta by 7-6 7-6 7-6 in the fourth round at the US Open after winning six matches in a row. On his performance influence for tennis in Canada he said: “I think that’s probably one of the proudest things. For me, like I said, my goal is to raise the level of Canadian tennis and just have more kids picking up a racquet instead of a hockey stick. I think I have definitely helped to do that, and hopefully, you know, I can keep doing it. I know a lot of people were tweeting towards me that don’t even follow tennis, and they’re starting to get into the sport, you know, because I have been doing well.”