Serena Williams believes she has a lot more quality tennis in store to offer after her run in comeback event ended in the quarter-finals on Friday. World number 116 Shelby Rogers put on a gritty display to beat top seed Serena Williams 1-6, 6-4, 7-6 (5) in another three-set battle at the Top Seed Open in Kentucky for the 23-time Grand Slam winner.
“I have only good things to take. I can play a lot better, that’s the most thing that I can take. It’s good to know that I can play a lot lot lot better,” said Williams after the match.
This is Williams’ first loss to a player outside the top 100 in eight years. This was probably the best chance for a player in that category to make it happen with Serena still trying to find her best game post the resumption. Rogers took her chance. Unlike her two previous matches in the tournament against Bernarda Pera and Venus Williams, Serena took the first set before Rogers rallied back to win two tough sets.
Williams’ body must have felt the pressure of playing three-set matches on consecutive days as the match went deep. But Williams says she has herself to blame for not winning comfortably against Rogers. “I made that on myself. I had an opportunity to possibly win in straight sets. So I kind of made it difficult for myself by making a plethora of unforced errors,” the 38-year-old said.
Williams went on to say that her opponent was able to take advantage of the higher bounce on the courts in Kentucky. Rogers was unbeaten on serve in the second and third sets. “It was difficult, especially in the third set to get a read on it (Rogers’ serve). These courts are just jumping incredibly high, higher than normal. So she took good advantage of that. Overall it was just completely different circumstances,” Williams opined.
The six-time US champion’s focus will now shift to the Cincinnati Open and US Open in New York. One of the initial matters at hand for players will be their living arrangements. They have the option of staying in the bio-secure bubble created at the tennis center. Those who can afford it can also set up base in private apartments.
Williams said she has planned nothing so far and will take things as they come. “Honestly I’m just taking it a day at a time. I’m really just seeing what I’m going to do. I don’t know, I had not planned on leaving like tomorrow or anything,” she said. “We’ll see, I’m just going to take it and see what happens. I’m not planning beyond today.”