World number one Serena Williams Wednesday said she was eager for a rematch with Italian veteran Roberta Vinci, who crushed her hopes of a calendar Grand Slam at the US Open last year.
“Always,” she said, when asked if she was looking forward to facing her again. “It doesn’t matter who I play, when I play. Win or lose, there is always a next time for me and for them.
“I don’t really shy away from that.”
Williams looked almost certain to become the first player since Steffi Graf in 1988, and just the sixth overall, to complete a calendar-year Grand Slam after reaching the semi-finals of the US Open in September.
She had already won the Australian and French Opens and Wimbledon in a dominant season.
Riding a 26-match win streak at Flushing Meadows, she was overwhelmingly expected to sweep aside unseeded Vinci, who is more renowned for her doubles success.
Instead her bid was shattered in stunning fashion as the 32-year-old Italian rallied from a set down to claim a sensational 2-6, 6-4, 6-4 triumph.
The loss left Williams intensely disappointed and she didn’t play another competitive match until the Australian Open.
Vinci has moved up the world rankings to 15, and Williams believes she could soon crack the top 10.
“Most definitely. She’s playing well, and the best part of it is not only is she playing well, she’s playing consistent,” she said.
“It’s not only one tournament or one week, it’s every week. So, I mean, she’s definitely looking towards cracking that, for sure.”
The earliest they could meet at the Australian Open would be the semi-finals.
Williams joked that she frequently watched video of her famous defeat at Flushing Meadows.
“Yeah, I watch it every day. Every night to get ready,” she deadpanned.