At this time yesterday, was anybody really looking forward to the ladies final of the US Open anymore? Had anybody really even comprehended that Serena had went and lost a match she absolutely was not supposed to lose? You don’t want to go using the word destiny lightly, but after she had to block her own sister’s resurgence, you felt, well, she’d done that big dramatic win, and the only top player left by then was Halep. The story is not supposed to end in an anti-climatic loss to an Italian player who isn’t even seeded. It hurt especially because she got so close, and we had all the time to get excited, and become utterly convinced that yes, she’s actually going to do this. And then she didn’t. Talk about a bummer.
And yet…out of it we got today. Once we looked past the crushing disappointment of Serena not being destined for the grand slam after all, we saw an incredible sight. Not even just two players beating the odds to get to the final, but two Italian girls who came from the same place, shared their own bond-eventually the word sister would once again be used, even if there wasn’t any blood relations involved this time. And they went out, and they played, and then the winner claimed her own destiny, even more so, as she promptly announced her retirement too. And there was even another sisterly hug at the net. Flavia Pennetta might not have been the story we were demanding. It certainly wasn’t the story we expected. And yet, in its way, it’s just as wonderful a one as Serena’s grand slam would’ve been. She even got Serena tweeting about her.
But even then…no doubt had Serena done it, the first commercial after the final was done would have been one of her many sponsors airing a spot congratulating her. But instead, it was a commercial of her, looking like she’d just come off a lost, going for a run while listening to a song about rising up again. And Novak Djokovic said it after his own semi-final last night: she’ll be favored once again to do it next year. We don’t know how many more years at the top she really has left in her, but it’s hard to believe she’ll decline that soon. And next year there’ll even be an Olympics, so we could potentially be looking at her truly matching Steffi Graf with a golden calendar slam. Perhaps destiny was just saving that story for then.