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27 Aug, 2019 10:38

Rivalry? What rivalry? Serena Williams asserts dominance with US Open thrashing of Maria Sharapova

Rivalry? What rivalry? Serena Williams asserts dominance with US Open thrashing of Maria Sharapova

It’s probably high time everybody – fans, media and tournament organizers alike – stops talking about a sporting rivalry between Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova. There simply isn’t one.

Why? Because while both are big names in women’s tennis, they’re worlds apart, both on and off the court.

That fact was cemented in the opening match of the US Open, as Williams blasted Sharapova off the court, 6-1 6-1, in just 58 minutes at the Arthur Ashe Stadium to put the latest exclamation point on her dominance over the Russian star.

Sure, Sharapova is a big name. She’s a former world No.1 and has completed a set of Grand Slam titles having won each of the major tournaments during her career, including two French Open titles.

But her achievements pale into insignificance when lined up next to Serena’s successes. While Russia's women's tennis icon has five Grand Slam singles titles, Williams has 23, 7 Australian Open titles, 7 Wimbledon titles, 6 US Open championships and 3 French Open titles.


And a look at the head-to-head record doesn’t read any better for the 32-year-old. In the 22 matches they’ve contested, Serena holds the advantage, 20-2. And, on top of that, she’s won the last 19 meetings between the two. Meanwhile, Maria’s last win came way back in 2004, that’s 15 years ago.

Rivalry? What rivalry?

Yet, heading into the US Open, the hype was cranked up for some sort of big clash between the two former US Open champions. Of course, hype sells tickets, and Sharapova is undoubtedly still one of the biggest stars in women’s tennis in terms of her image.

Sharapova was recently listed by Forbes as the seventh biggest earner in women’s sport, with an annual pay packet of $7 million. But in a list dominated by tennis players, six of her tour rivals were ahead of her in the money list, including Serena who stood head and shoulders above the rest with earnings of $29.2 million.


So, if we look at all the measurables: career success, head-to-head record, current form, and off-the-court earnings, the result is about as close as we saw on court on Monday night at Flushing Meadow.

There is no rivalry, so let’s stop pretending there is.

By Simon Head