Simona Halep secured victory against Beatriz Haddad Maia in the Canada Open final on Sunday, though was given a tougher test than she had otherwise experienced throughout the tournament.

The Romanian was a 6-3 2-6 6-3 victor, dropping a set for only the second time in the week, but standing firm in the clash that clocked in at over two hours.

That meant records for Haddad Maia, who has played the most WTA-level matches with three sets in 2022 (20) and spent over 12-and-a-half hours on the court at the Canada Open in 2022, more than any other player in a single WTA tournament this year.

Wimbledon semi-finalist Halep proved to be a step too far for the Brazilian, however, with the win marking her most significant honour since winning in Rome in 2020.

It was far from a vintage performance from the 30-year-old, who had nine double-faults in the match compared to Haddad Maia's two and left the door open for the South American - who was vying for victory in her first ever WTA 1000 event.

Halep had already clinched a return to the world top 10 by reaching the final in Toronto, the first time since her 373-week stint ended just over a week ago - which led to admissions that she considered calling it quits amid her decline.

A valiant comeback in 2022 has been one of the major stories of the calendar year though and, on the back of victory in Canada and a semi-final march at Wimbledon, will have high hopes for the U.S. Open.

Simona Halep came from a set behind to defeat seventh seed Jessica Pegula 2-6 6-3 6-4 in the semi-final of the Canadian Open on Saturday, booking her place in the final against Beatriz Haddad Maia.

Romania's Halep, the 15th seed, struggled to return Pegula's serve in the opening set, winning just 32 per cent (nine-of-28) of her return points while compounding her early issues with four double faults.

Whether Pegula began to run out of steam, or Halep figured something out, she had significantly more success against the American's serve the rest of the way, winning 55 per cent (12-of-22) of her return points in the second set, and 57 per cent (20-of-35) in the decider.

Halep has now won 11 of her past 13 matches, and Pegula is her third consecutive win against a top-25 opponent after defeating both world number 21 Jil Teichmann and world number 13 Coco Gauff in straight sets. 

While this will be Halep's 18th career WTA 1000 final, it will be Haddad Maia's first, after she emerged triumphant 6-4 7-6 (9-7) against 14th seed Karolina Pliskova.

She did not have a serving advantage against Pliskova, who won the ace count nine-to-one, but she was gritty, saving four of the six break points she faced, and refused to concede the second set after dropping the first three games.

Haddad Maia – the only Brazilian ranked inside the top-100 – has now beaten five consecutive top-25 opponents on her way to the final, including world number one Iga Swiatek, Olympic gold medalist Belinda Bencic and Canadian hometown hero Leylah Fernandez.

Two-time major winner Simona Halep continues to find form ahead of the upcoming US Open with a 6-4 7-6 (7-2) victory over Coco Gauff clinching her spot in the Canadian Open semi-finals.

Halep defeated 10th seed Gauff, who had beaten Naomi Osaka, Elena Rybakina and Aryna Sabalenka this week, in one hour and 47 minutes.

The Romanian 15th seed was broken five times and sent down eight double faults, but found the edge with speed, finesse and power.

The win means Halep has won the third most matches (36-10) on the WTA Tour this season, behind only top-ranked Iga Swiatek (49) and Wimbledon finalist Ons Jabeir (37).

Halep's improved form comes after she teamed up with Serena Williams' ex-coach Patrick Mouratoglou in April following a difficult 2021 season.

"Before I met him I was super down with my motivation," Halep told reporters. "I couldn't really work, keep working. I was almost done with tennis. He brought this fire back and the motivation. He trusted that I still can play good tennis and he transferred this to me."

The 2018 French Open and 2019 Wimbledon champion added: "Physically I'm good. Mentally I'm good, so I think it's all positive."

Halep, who won the Canadian Open in 2018, has reached the semi-finals for the fifth time in her career where she will take on seventh seed Jessica Pegula.

Pegula got past Yulia Putintseva 6-3 6-3 in one hour and 21 minutes. Qualifying for the last four at the Canadian Open for the second straight year.

Brazilian Beatriz Haddad Maia maintained her Canadian Open run, having ousted Swiatek in the third round and local favourite Leylah Fernandez in the second, with a 2-6 6-3 6-3 victory over Tokyo Olympics gold medalist Belinda Bencic in two hours and 11 minutes.

Haddad Maia became the first Brazilian to reach the semi-finals of a WTA 1000 tournament. She will face Karolina Pliskova in the semi-finals after the Czech 14th seed beat Qinwen Zheng 4-6 6-4 6-4.

Serena Williams has been drawn to face reigning US Open champion Emma Raducanu in a blockbuster first-round match-up at next week's Cincinnati Masters.

Williams, who earlier this week declared her intention to retire after the upcoming US Open, will open her tournament on Monday evening against the 19-year-old Briton who is currently ranked 10th in the world.

The 23-time Grand Slam champion recorded her first singles win in more than a year at this week's Canadian Open, defeating Nuria Parrizas-Diaz on Monday, before losing in the second round to Belinda Bencic.

In between the matches, Williams had signaled her retirement plans in an article in Vogue magazine.

The first-round clash is one of several intriguing matches including 14th seed Karolina Pliskova meeting Venus Williams, two-time major winner Victoria Azarenka facing Estonian veteran Kaia Kanepi.

In-form Simona Halep is drawn against 2021 Australian Open semi-finalist Karolina Muchova, while four-time Grand Slam winner Naomi Osaka will face Zhang Shuai.

In the men's singles draw, 12th seed Matteo Berrettini will face Frances Tiafoe straight up, while Nick Kyrgios is scheduled to take on Alejandro Davidovich Fokina.

Coco Gauff will reach the highest ranking of her career after the 18-year-old defeated world number six Aryna Sabalenka 7-5 4-6 7-6 (7-4) in the third round of the Canadian Open on Thursday.

Gauff, who has never been ranked higher than her current spot of 11th, will overtake Emma Raducanu and likely Daria Kasatkina to move up to ninth when the next rankings are released after prevailing in an exceptionally tight match against her Belarussian opponent. 

Incredibly, both Gauff and Sabalenka won exactly 131 points each, posting identical success rates on service points (77-of-131) and return points (54-of-131).

Gauff will be considered one of the favourites in the tournament after world number one Iga Swiatek was sensationally eliminated by Brazil's Beatriz Haddad Maia. Swiatek was sloppy, committing nine double faults to just one from her opponent.

Two-time grand slam winner Simona Halep defeated rising Swiss talent Jil Teichmann 6-2 7-5, utilising her dominant first serve to get the job done. Halep converted 82 per cent (32-of-39) of her accurate first serves into points, compared to just 59 per cent (29-of-49) for Teichmann.

World number seven Jessica Pegula had to save a match point on her way to a comeback 3-6 6-0 7-5 win against reigning Canadian Open champion Camila Giorgi, booking her quarter-final clash against Yulia Putintseva after the Kazakhstani beat Alison Riske 6-3 7-5.

Third seed Maria Sakkari went down 1-6 7-6 (11-9) 3-6 against 14th seed Karolina Pliskova, and the Czech will take on China's Qinweng Zheng after she eliminated Canada's last remaining contender Bianca Andreescu 7-5 5-7 6-2.

In the final match of the night, Tokyo Olympics gold medalist Belinda Bencic was incredibly impressive against world number eight Garbine Muguruza, prevailing 6-1 6-3.

Serena Williams' decision to begin winding down her tennis career has saddened world number one Iga Swiatek and Belinda Bencic, who defeated the 40-year-old on Wednesday.

Williams announced on Tuesday that she is about to retire, saying "the countdown has begun" as she looks to "move in a different direction".

While the 23-time singles grand slam champion did not put a specific timeline on her remaining days in tennis, her comment about looking for new challenges after "these next few weeks" suggests the US Open – which she has already been included on the entry list for and starts at the end of August – will be her swansong.

That announcement came on the back of Williams' first singles win in 430 days, a defeat of Nuria Parrizas-Diaz at the Canadian Open in Toronto, but she was subsequently eliminated by Bencic on Wednesday, when the reality of her farewell tour set in.

Williams failed to hold back the tears as she said goodbye to the Toronto crowd for the last time as a player, and Bencic herself could not help feeling a little overcome

She said: "It was definitely very special. I think it was more than just the usual tennis match, also just really exciting, and also a little bit overwhelming for me, of course.

"[It's] great, I can be part of her career and her story and this was just really nice and I'm just really appreciative and honoured to play her so many times, and also here in Toronto.

 

"I mean, she's really the greatest of all time, so it's really exciting. I could have been on the court against her so many times and even today I really enjoyed it a lot. It was sometimes like a pinch me moment again."

Williams finished five different calendar years as the highest-ranked player in the world, a record only Steffi Graf and Martina Navratilova can better.

Swiatek, the current world number one, looks to be the best-placed of the next generation to challenge that achievement, though she recognises a degree of fortune in not having to face Williams at the peak of her powers.

"Well it's always pretty sad when you see such a career coming to an end, but on the other hand she's a legend and I feel like she's done so much," Swiatek added.

"It's really amazing. I'm pretty sad that I wasn't able to play against her and experience that her being the strongest one on tour, but on the other hand, I would be losing against her if I played [her at] that time, so that's fine!

"But she's a legend and everything that she has done on court and off court, she's basically a superstar and the way she handled playing tennis and business and also being a mother, it's mind-blowing. So I'm pretty sure that she's going to have a great second part of her career."

The Serena Williams' farewell tour in Toronto is over after she was knocked out of the Canadian Open 6-2 6-4 by 12th seed Belinda Bencic on Wednesday.

Williams, playing for the first time since declaring on Tuesday her intention to retire after this month's US Open, was no match for Tokyo Olympics gold medalist Bencic.

The 23-time major winner was unable to claim back-to-back WTA singles wins for the first time since last year's French Open, having defeated Nuria Parrizas-Diaz for her first victory in 430 days on Monday.

Bencic triumphed in one hour and 17 minutes, winning 84.2 per cent of first-serve points and converted five of eight break points throughout the match.

Williams' power was on show with 13 winners, but Bencic was physically more capable and decisively managed 25 winners with only 13 unforced errors.

Elsewhere, 2019 US Open winner and local hope Bianca Andreescu edged Alize Cornet in a see-sawing clash in the evening, winning 6-3 4-6 6-3 in two hours and 26 minutes.

Fourth seed Paula Badosa and fifth seed Ons Jabeur, who was last month's Wimbledon runner-up, were forced to retire due to injury.

Spanish 24-year-old Badosa withdrew against Yulia Putintseva 7-5 1-0 due to muscle cramping, while Zheng Qinwen had a walkover against Jabeur 6-1 2-1 due to abdominal pain.

Top seed Iga Swiatek brushed aside Ajla Tomljanovic 6-1 6-2 in 64 minutes. The win means Swiatek is the first player to win 15 WTA 1000 matches in straight sets in a row since 2009.

Canadian 13th seed Leylah Fernandez also bowed out, going down 7-6 (7-4) 6-1 to Brazil's Beatriz Haddad Maia, who will face Swiatek in the third round.

Second seed Anett Kontaveit lost 6-4 6-4 to Jil Teichmann in one hour and 27 minutes. Teichmann will next face Simona Halep who won in 71 minutes against Zhang Shuai 6-4 6-2.

Sixth seed Aryna Sabalenka got past Sara Sorribes Tormo 6-4 6-3 to set up a third-round meeting with Coco Gauff after she defeated Wimbledon champion Elena Rybakina 6-4 6-7 (8-10) 7-6 (7-3) in an epic that lasted two hours and 49 minutes.

Jessica Pegula won 6-2 7-5 over American qualifier Asia Muhammad to progress through to face Camila Giorgi after she knocked off Elise Mertens 7-3 7-5.

Third seed Maria Sakkari triumphed in three sets 6-2 4-6 6-2 over Sloane Stephens and will face Karolina Pliskova next after the Czech beat Amanda Anisimova 6-1 6-1.

Eighth seed Garbine Muguruza won 6-4 6-4 against Kaia Kanepi and Alison Riske toppled 16th seed Jelena Ostapenko 7-6 (7-2) 0-6 7-5.

The day after declaring her impending retirement, Serena Williams was full of emotion and admitted it had been a "pretty interesting 24 hours" for her.

Williams revealed on Tuesday in an article in Vogue that "the countdown has begun" for her retirement with this month's US Open set to be the 23-time major winner's last tournament.

The 40-year-old was knocked out of the Canadian Open on Wednesday by Belinda Bencic 6-2 6-4 and spoke after the match for the first time publicly since declaring her intention to retire.

"It was a lot of emotions obviously," Williams said during the on-court post-match interview.

"I've loved playing here [Toronto], I've always loved playing here. I wish I could have played better but Belinda played so well today.

"It's been a pretty interesting 24 hours."

Williams, who won the first of her 23 Grand Slam titles way back in 1999 at the US Open, was emotional about the reception from fans to her announcement.

"It's just been so memorable," Williams said.

"Like I said in my article, I'm terrible at goodbyes. But goodbye, Toronto."

Williams has already been named on the entry list for the US Open, which starts at Flushing Meadows at the end of August.

The former world number one had claimed her first WTA singles win in 430 days on Monday when she defeated Nuria Parrizas-Diaz in preparation for her US Open farewell.

Coco Gauff described Serena Williams as "the reason why I play tennis" as she paid tribute to the soon-to-retire great, declaring: "There will never be another Serena."

Williams, a 23-time grand slam champion, announced in a piece in Vogue on Tuesday that she would soon retire.

The 40-year-old did not provide a firm date for the end of her career, but hinted that she could bow out after the US Open, which begins at the end of August.

Williams had won her first singles match in over a year on Monday at the Canadian Open, yet she wrote of the need to now prioritise her family.

And Gauff, playing at the same event in Toronto, was not short of praise for a legend of the sport.

"She's just been playing forever, my whole life," Gauff said after beating Madison Brengle.

"The legacy that she's left throughout her tennis career is something that I don't think any other player can probably touch.

"I think that the legacy that she'll continue to leave throughout her life is something that can inspire many more generations."

Gauff, a highly talented 18-year-old, has no interest in any tag as the 'next Serena', although she can take inspiration from Williams in dealing with such pressure.

"I've learned a lot from them [Serena and sister Venus]," Gauff said.

"People always tell me that you're going to be 'next whatever', blah, blah, blah, and Serena has been considered the GOAT [greatest of all time] for at least the second half of her career, and she never succumbed to that pressure.

"I think she overcame it, and I think that's something I take from her and try to learn from it. Not that I'm at her level and experiencing the same pressure she is, but in the moment I try to emulate that.

"For me, I grew up watching her. That's the reason why I play tennis, and tennis being a predominantly white sport, it definitely helped a lot, because I saw somebody who looked like me dominating the game, and it made me believe I could dominate, too.

"She's the GOAT. And undisputed, too, in my opinion. But I don't think that's an opinion, it's a fact.

"Serena, for me, is the GOAT. The GOAT of all GOATs. There will never be another Serena."

Coco Gauff shined on the opening day of the Canadian Open on Tuesday, defeating American compatriot Madison Brengle 6-1 6-3 to move to a record of 14-4 from her past 18 matches.

Gauff, who has not lost to anyone ranked lower than world number 22 Amanda Anisimova since the Australian Open, continued that impressive record by cruising past world number 62 Brengle, winning 58 per cent (34-of-59) of her return points in a dominant showing.

Anisimova, who eliminated Gauff from Wimbledon, also made it through her first match unscathed as she defeated hometown Canadian Carol Zhao 6-1 6-3.

China's Qinweng Zheng put another dagger into the Canadians with her 3-6 7-6 (7-5) 6-4 win over Rebecca Marino, but Bianca Andreescu gave the fans something to cheer for as she upset world number nine and winner of this past week's Silicon Valley Classic Daria Kasatkina 7-6 (7-5) 6-4.

Spain's Sara Sorribes Tormo prevailed against American Claire Liu 7-6 (7-4) 2-6 7-6 (7-5) in a three-and-a-half-hour battle of attrition, while Australian qualifier Ajla Tomljanovic upset world number 16 Veronika Kudermetova 6-4 2-6 7-6 (7-4) in two-and-a-half hours.

It was a disappointing showing from world number 10 Emma Raducanu as she went down 7-6 (7-0) 6-2 to the reigning champion of this event, Italy's Camila Giorgi.

Naomi Osaka also will need an early flight home after being forced to retire against Estonia's Kaia Kanepi, pulling the plug due to a persistent back injury while trailing 7-6 (7-4) 3-0.

In the late session, Olympic gold medalist Belinda Bencic successfully navigated the challenge of Tereza Martincova 6-4 6-2 to book a second round fixture against Serena Williams, and world number four Maria Sakkari survived a scare to finish strong and defeat Sloane Stephens 6-2 4-6 6-2.

Serena Williams' long and illustrious tennis career is drawing to a close after the American confirmed on Tuesday that the countdown has begun.

Following a long piece in Vogue, Williams wrote of her plan to "move in a different direction" after "these next few weeks", suggesting the US Open – which begins in late August – will be her last outing.

Thanks to her success and brilliance on the court, Williams has become synonymous with tennis and is regarded by many as the greatest the women's sport has ever seen.

Yet, her seemingly imminent retirement cannot be seen as a shock. At the age of 40, Williams has persisted with tennis far longer than most do, and that is testament to her quality and enduring desire for success.

With Williams now reaching the end, Stats Perform takes a look at the key facts, stats and figures of her career; in other words, Serena's remarkable legacy.

Twenty-three… and counting?

Of course, the headline fact for Williams' career is her grand slam titles count.

She has won 23, which is more than anyone else in the Open era.

But she's still got one target left: matching Margaret Court. The Australian's 24 grand slam successes include nine won before the Open era began in 1968, though her overall total has been the benchmark ever since she claimed her final crown at the US Open in 1975.

Clearly, victory for Williams at Flushing Meadows would be the perfect farewell.

 

The finals hurdle

Even if Williams only reaches the championship match next month, she'll still be equalling a different record.

Assuming she does compete in Queens, Williams heads into the US Open having played in 33 grand slam finals, one more than Martina Navratilova.

But Chris Evert (34) sits out in front, and that record will remain hers for many, many years if Williams cannot reach the finale at Flushing Meadows.

Top of the pile

It's been a while now since Williams was last the highest-ranked player in the world, but in a way that only further highlights how remarkable her career has been.

She's spent 319 weeks ranked as world number one, which is behind only Steffi Graf (377) and Navratilova (332).

While many might have expected Williams to have been top of the pile for even longer, it's worth remembering how she's spent time out due to injuries and pregnancy, with her general involvement in top-level tennis decreasing after 2014 when she played 16 tournaments – in 2016 that halved to eight, and during no year since has she played in more.

Additionally, some will also be surprised to learn she actually only finished the year as the top-ranked female player five times. Nevertheless, that's still third to only Graf (eight) and Navratilova (seven).

Go hard or go home

Such has been Williams' quality, she was always considered a threat regardless of the surface – she's won each grand slam at least three times.

But there's no denying she was at her most lethal on hard courts.

She has won 48 WTA Tour-level titles on hard courts, which is 11 more than anyone else (Graf) in the Open era.

Those 48 come from a grand total of 73 across all surfaces, leaving her ranked fifth behind Navratilova (167), Evert (157), Graf (107) and Court (92).

 

Surface to say…

Williams' comfort on hard courts goes even further than that.

She's won 539 matches on the surface, making her one of just two female players to surpass 500 victories on one specific ground type.

Navratilova (600 on carpet) is the only other player to achieve the feat, with Serena's sister Venus (498 on hard) the closest to the 23-time grand slam champion.

The grass is greener

Despite that unrivalled excellence, hard courts may not be the surface many feel to be most synonymous with Williams, however.

Wimbledon is the tournament that would appear to be her favourite.

She's reached the final at SW19 11 times. Only Navratilova can better that record for the most finals at one tournament – though it's worth saying she contested the WTA Finals and Chicago 14 times each, Eastbourne 13 times and 12 at Wimbledon.

Serena Williams, the most decorated tennis player in the open era, has hinted at retirement following the US Open.

One day on from winning her first singles match in 430 days at the Canadian Open, the legendary 23-time grand slam winner confirmed she is "evolving away" from the sport in an interview with Vogue Magazine.

Williams, who is one grand slam title away from matching Margaret Court's all-time record, appears set for one last shot at matching that haul at Flushing Meadows.

With Williams likely to call time on a spectacular career following one last outing at her home slam, below are 10 key quotes from her interview with Vogue.

THE KEY QUOTES

Reluctancy to step away 

"I've been reluctant to admit to myself or anyone else that I have to move on from playing tennis. Alexis, my husband, and I have hardly talked about it; it's like a taboo topic.

"It's like it's not real until you say it out loud. It comes up, I get an uncomfortable lump in my throat, and I start to cry. The only person I've really gone there with is my therapist."

Evolution

"I have never liked the word 'retirement'. It doesn't feel like a modern word to me. I've been thinking of this as a transition, but I want to be sensitive about how I use that word, which means something very specific and important to a community of people.

"Maybe the best word to describe what I'm up to is 'evolution'. I'm here to tell you that I'm evolving away from tennis, towards other things that are important to me."

No joy in reaching a "crossroads"

"Ashleigh Barty was number one in the world when she left the sport this March, and I believe she really felt ready to move on. Caroline Wozniacki, who is one of my best friends, felt a sense of relief when she retired in 2020.

"Praise to these people, but I'm going to be honest. There is no happiness in this topic for me. I know it's not the usual thing to say, but I feel a great deal of pain. 

"I hate it. I hate that I have to be at this crossroads. I keep saying to myself, I wish it could be easy for me, but it's not. I'm torn. I don't want it to be over, but at the same time I'm ready for what's next."

Family life key

"I never wanted to have to choose between tennis and a family. I don't think it's fair. If I were a guy, I wouldn't be writing this because I'd be out there playing and winning while my wife was doing the physical labour of expanding our family. 

"Maybe I'd be more of a Tom Brady if I had that opportunity. Don't get me wrong, I love being a woman, and I loved every second of being pregnant.

"A lot of people don't realise that I was two months pregnant when I won the Australian Open in 2017. But I'm turning 41 this month, and something's got to give."

Wanting Court's record 

"There are people who say I'm not the GOAT [greatest of all time] because I didn't pass Margaret Court's record of 24 grand slam titles, which she achieved before the open era that began in 1968. 

"I'd be lying if I said I didn't want that record. Obviously I do."

Pride in "extraordinary" record

"If I'm in a grand slam final, then yes, I am thinking about that record. Maybe I thought about it too much, and that didn't help. 

"The way I see it, I should have had 30-plus grand slams. I had my chances after coming back from giving birth.

"But I didn't get there. 'Shoulda, woulda, coulda'. I didn't show up the way I should have or could have. But I showed up 23 times, and that's fine. Actually it's extraordinary."

Tiger's advice 

"This spring, I had the itch to get back on the court for the first time in seven months. I was talking to Tiger Woods, who's a friend, and I told him I needed his advice on my tennis career. He was adamant that I be a beast, the same way he is!"

"Magical" Wimbledon return

"It felt magical to pick up a racket again. And I was good. I was really good. I went back and forth about whether to play Wimbledon, and the US Open after that."

"I don’t know if I will be ready to win New York, but I'm going to try."

"Unfortunately I wasn't ready to win Wimbledon this year. And I don't know if I will be ready to win New York. But I'm going to try. And the lead-up tournaments will be fun. 

"I know there's a fan fantasy that I might have tied Margaret that day in London, then maybe beat her record in New York, and then at the trophy ceremony say, 'See ya!' But I'm not looking for some ceremonial, final on-court moment."

Inspiring female athletes

"I'd like to think that thanks to me, women athletes can be themselves. They can play with aggression and pump their fists. 

"They can wear what they want and say what they want and kick butt and be proud of it all."

Serena Williams has revealed she is about to retire from tennis, announcing "the countdown has begun" with the US Open seemingly set to be her final tournament.

With 23 grand slam singles titles, Williams is the most decorated player of the Open Era, but her most recent major success came at the 2017 Australian Open.

The 40-year-old is one title shy of Margaret Court's all-time record and appears set for one last shot at matching the Australian.

Williams wrote on Tuesday of her plan to "move in a different direction" after "these next few weeks" following a long piece in Vogue.

She has already been named on the entry list for the US Open, which starts at Flushing Meadows at the end of August.

Posting an image of her interview on Instagram, Williams said: "There comes a time in life when we have to decide to move in a different direction.

"That time is always hard when you love something so much. My goodness do I enjoy tennis.

"But now, the countdown has begun. I have to focus on being a mom, my spiritual goals and finally discovering a different but just as exciting Serena.

"I'm just going to relish these next few weeks."

Within the Vogue piece, she added: "I'm turning 41 this month, and something's got to give.

"I have never liked the word retirement. It doesn't feel like a modern word to me.

"I've been thinking of this as a transition, but I want to be sensitive about how I use that word, which means something very specific and important to a community of people.

"Maybe the best word to describe what I'm up to is evolution. I'm here to tell you that I'm evolving away from tennis, toward other things that are important to me."

Williams wrote at length about the reasons for her decision, saying: "I started a family. I want to grow that family."

The American great had hinted at this decision on Monday following her defeat of Nuria Parrizas-Diaz at the Canadian Open.

That was Williams' first singles win in 430 days, and she said: "I guess there's just a light at the end of the tunnel.

"I don't know, I'm getting closer to the light, so… lately that's been it for me. I can't wait to get to that light."

When asked what "the light" means to her, Williams responded: "Freedom." She added: "I can't do this forever."

Serena Williams has revealed she is about to retire from tennis, announcing "the countdown has begun" with the US Open seemingly set to be her final tournament.

With 23 grand slam singles titles, Williams is the most decorated player of the Open Era, but her most recent major success came at the 2017 Australian Open.

The 40-year-old is one title shy of Margaret Court's all-time record and appears set for one last shot at matching the Australian.

In a long piece in Vogue, Williams wrote of her plan to "move in a different direction" after "these next few weeks".

Williams has already been named on the entry list for the US Open, which starts at Flushing Meadows at the end of August.

 

Serena Williams highlighted the first day of the Canadian Open, defeating Nuria Parrizas-Diaz 6-3 6-4 for her first win since the 2021 French Open.

In doing so, Williams became the fourth player since 2000 to win a WTA-level main draw match after turning 40, joining sister Venus Williams, as well as Kimiko Date Krumm and Martina Navratilova.

She also claimed the all-time record for wins at the Canadian Open, with 35, now one more than Chris Evert.

"I guess there’s just a light at the end of the tunnel," Williams said after the match. "I don’t know, I’m getting closer to the light. Lately that's been it for me. I can’t wait to get to that light."

She added: "I love playing though, so it’s like amazing. But I can’t do this forever. Sometimes you just want to try your best to enjoy the moments and do the best that you can."

Williams' older sister Venus, 42, was beaten on Monday by Swiss Jil Teichmann 6-2 6-3 with the match finshing after midnight following a delayed start due to rain.

One of the three seeded players in action on Monday, 15th seed Simona Halep had no issues cruising through the challenge of Donna Vekic 6-0 6-2.

It was similarly smooth sailing for 14th seed Karolina Pliskova in her all-Czech showdown against Barbora Krejcikova, winning 6-3 6-4, while Latvian 16th seed Jelena Ostapenko handled the challenge of Ukraine's Anhelina Kalinina 6-4 6-2.

Kazakhstan's Elena Rybakina defeated in-form qualifier Marie Bouzkova 7-5 6-7 (3-7) 6-1, likely earning a shot at Coco Gauff if the American wins as a heavy favourite tomorrow, while Brazil's Beatriz Haddad Maia beat Italy's Martina Trevisan 6-2 2-6 6-2 in a meeting of two top-30 players.

In a pair of all-American battles, Sloane Stephens edged Sofia Kenin 6-2 7-6 (7-5) 7-5, and world number 187 Asia Muhammad upset world number 25 Madison Keys in straight sets 7-6 (7-5) 6-4.

Alize Cornet defeated her French compatriot Caroline Garcia 3-6 6-3 6-3, and Canada's Katherine Sebov was unable to get the job done in front of her home fans, going down 6-3 2-6 5-7 to Yulia Putintseva.

In better news for the Canadians, Leylah Fernandez won 6-4 6-7 (2-7) 6-3 over Storm Sanders, while veteran two-time Wimbledon winner Petra Kvitova was beaten by Alison Riske 6-2 4-6 6-3.

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