Jule Niemeier spread her arms and then showed the audience the winning fist: Germany's last tournament hope delivered again at the US Open.
After the 23-year-old surprised everyone by reaching the quarter-finals in Wimbledon two months ago, she is continuing her successful journey in New York. In the second round, Niemeier defeated Julija Putinzewa from Kazakhstan, who was 70 places higher in the world rankings, thanks to nerves of steel and solid groundstrokes 6:4, 6:3. On September 3, the Dortmund native will play either Russia's Anastassija Potapova or China's Zheng Qinwen to qualify for the round of 16.
"I'm not even thinking about the round of 16 or quarterfinals. Today I'm satisfied and happy," said Niemeier at Eurosport. After the weak start, she felt "extremely good" on the pitch. National coach Barabara Rittner was also satisfied: "She stayed calm, played her game and won, absolutely deservedly."
Victory with dynamics and toughness
Niemeier is the only remaining German tennis player at the last Grand Slam tournament of the year. For the first time in 38 years, there was no German professional in the second round of the hard court tournament in Flushing Meadows Park. Due to the cancellation of the not quite fit Olympic champion Alexander Zverev and the pregnant Angelique Kerber as well as the loss of luck, the expectations in the German camp were very low anyway.
Putintseva, who according to Kas is always good for "one or the other antics", even a medical time-out to treat a torn fingernail didn't help. Niemeier didn't let the break upset him and continued his game in an impressive way.
Williams one lap further: "I'm just Serena"
For the first time in her career, Niemeier is in the main draw of the US Open, it is only her third Grand Slam tournament. With the two opening victories, Germany's tennis hopes will make a big leap forward in the world rankings from the current 108th place.
Meanwhile, on Thursday night, there was a small Williams miracle. Contrary to all predictions, the tennis icon Serena Williams defeated the second in the world rankings, Anett Kontaveit, and surprisingly advanced to the third round. "I'm just Serena," explained the 23-time Grand Slam tournament winner of her 7: 6 (7: 4), 2: 6, 6: 2 coup against the favored Estonian: "I'm a pretty good player".
Williams fought at least one other Grand Slam singles game before her near retirement. On Friday, the 40-year-old meets Australian Ajla Tomljanovic. "There's still a little bit left in me," she said with a smile. Hardly any match practice, slipped to 605th place in the world rankings, poor results before the US Open - nevertheless, Williams has delivered an impressive show in New York so far.