Serena Williams appears likely to set yet another astonishing tennis record in a U.S. Open third-round match that will stream live Saturday when the 34-year-old world No. 1 ranked women’s player faces Johanna Larsson of Sweden, a sturdy, 28-year-old veteran who takes a world 47th ranking into the showdown with the American legend.
Despite nursing an ongoing shoulder injury that prevented her from taking a medal at the Olympic tennis competition in Rio, Brazil, last month, Williams is playing at this U.S. Open for not only her seventh winner’s trophy at the Grand Slam tournament, but for her 23rd Grand Slam title overall.
— The Guardian (@guardian) September 2, 2016
A victory in the tournament would set a new record, passing the mark of 22 set by Steffi Graf — a record equaled by Serena Williams when she won the Wimbledon Championships earlier this year.
But that’s not the record Williams would top by defeating Larsson on Saturday. A win over the Swede would not only see Serena into the second week of the U.S. Open, it would give her a total of 307 match victories in Grand Slam events — the most of the Open era.
Johanna Larsson är klar för tredje omgången i US Open-tennisen – där kan hon ställas mot Serena Williams. pic.twitter.com/HZ1EZPgnPJ
— TV4 Sport (@TV4Sport) September 1, 2016
When Williams cruised past 87th-ranked Vania King in straight 6-3 sets in a second-round match Thursday, she equaled the 306 career Grand Slam match victories recorded by Martina Navratilova. Beating Larsson, as Williams is expectedly heavily favored to do, would put her in a class all by herself.
Serena Williams and Johanna Larsson have met only twice before, both times in 2013, with the American winning in straight sets each time. Williams beat Larsson in the United States vs. Sweden Fed Cup team competition 6-2, 6-2. And then the two met again in the finals of that year’s clay-court Swedish Open in Bastad.
The second time around, Johanna Larsson gave Serena Williams a challenge in the first set, taking four games, only to go quietly 6-1 in the second set and Williams walked away with the trophy.
Watch highlights of the 2013 Swedish Open final between Serena Williams and Johanna Larsson in the following video.
To find out how to watch a live stream of the Serena Williams vs. Johanna Larsson U.S. Open third-round tennis match, see the streaming links in the final paragraph of this article. The match is scheduled to get underway at 1 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time — 10 a.m. Pacific — at the 23,000-seat Arthur Ashe Tennis Stadium in Flushing, Queens, New York, on Saturday, September 3.
For what could and will likely be her record-setting match, Serena Williams will be playing on the same court where she won her first Grand Slam title, capturing the U.S. Open at the age of 17 in 1999.
— USA TODAY (@USATODAY) September 2, 2016
Arthur Ashe Stadium is named for the late American tennis legend who, when he won the U.S. Open in 1968, became the first black man ever to win any Grand Slam tennis event.
“When I walk out at Arthur Ashe Stadium, it’s such a big stadium that first you just take in the moment, but then at the same time you take in the history of playing in a stadium named after someone who’s broken so many barriers and did so much for sport and black people in sport,” Serena Willaims said in a 2015 interview for the BBC.
“When I was coming up in the late ’80s there weren’t any African-Americans playing. Reading the stories about how Arthur wasn’t able to play when he was 12 motivated me, because I thought, ‘Wow, because of what he went through, what he did, I have the opportunity to play.’ I have an opportunity to be the best I can be, because of him.”
On Saturday, Serena Williams will get yet another in a long series of opportunities to cement her status as the best player in tennis, and possibly in the history of the sport.
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To watch the Serena Williams vs. Johanna Larsson U.S. Open third-round showdown live online for free from Arthur Ashe Tennis Stadium in Flushing, New York City — without login credential from a cable provider required — go to ESPN3, the online-only channel in the ESPN network. ESPN3 will carry the game live at this link. Select the feed for “Arthur Ashe Stadium.” ESPN3 is free to subscribers of most major internet service providers and many minor ISPs as well. For a full list, check this link. The WatchESPN and ESPN apps will allow fans to catch the live stream of the potential record-breaking match for Serena Williams against Johanna Larsson at the U.S. Open on mobile devices as well. For a possible alternative live stream of the match, fans can click on this link.
[Photo By Darron Cummings/Associated Press]