Serena Williams has consistently stated that she doesn’t want the word “female” used when talking about her greatness — she just wants to be known as an athlete.
She helped her case on Monday by passing Roger Federer’s Open era record for the most singles Grand Slam match wins — regardless of gender — with her fourth-round win over Yaroslava Shvedova at the U.S. Open.
The 6-2, 6-3 win was Williams’ 308th at a Grand Slam event, edging the record set by Federer, who announced in early August that he would not play again this season. Williams surpassed Steffi Graf for the women’s record with her win on Saturday.
“It’s really exciting,” Williams said after the match. “This is where it all started, so it’s always so magical out here for me — but 308 sounds pretty good.”
The 34-year-old is seeking her 23rd career major title, which would set a new women’s Open era record. She’s currently tied with Graf atop the list. A win at this year’s U.S. Open would be Williams’ seventh, which would break a tie with Chris Evert for the most ever.
Much like her previous matches at this year’s U.S. Open, Williams was in control from the start against Shvedova. Williams came into the match 4-0 against the 28-year-old, and continued her dominance to advance to the quarterfinals.
There was a chance that Williams would face her sister Venus in the semifinals, but that possibility ended when Venus lost to Karolina Pliskova earlier on Monday.
Despite battling a shoulder injury, Serena Williams took home her seventh Wimbledon singles title in July to tie Graf’s career Grand Slam record. She’s coming off a third-round loss at the 2016 Rio Olympics, and entered the U.S. Open having played only three matches since Wimbledon.
Williams has been ranked No. 1 in the world for 186 straight weeks, tied with Graf for the most ever. In order to maintain her streak and break Graf’s record she’ll have to at least make the U.S. Open final — if her opponent in the final is Angelique Kerber, Williams will have to win the title to stay No. 1.
She’ll first have to take care of fifth-seeded Simona Halep in the quarterfinals.
Source: CBS Sports Headlines / U.S. Open results: Serena Williams breaks Federer’s record with fourth-round win