An audience of 29,959 filled New York’s USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center as the 40-year-old defeated 26-year-old World No. 2 Anett Kontaveit.
On Wednesday night, a record crowd watched 23-time Grand Slam winner Serena Williams advance to the third round of her last U.S. Open — and final professional tournament, Front Office Sports reports on Thursday.
An audience of 29,959 filled New York’s USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center as the 40-year-old — who entered the highly anticipated match as a sizable underdog — defeated 26-year-old World No. 2 Anett Kontaveit.
The night-session record is just the latest benchmark Serena’s swan song has set so far.
ESPN’s Monday night coverage of Williams’ first-round win over Danka Kovinic averaged 2.7 million viewers.
The win helped Williams reach just under $95 million in guaranteed career on-court earnings.
On Thursday, Serena and sister Venus Williams will compete in the women’s doubles draw for the first time since 2014. They hold a 14-0 record in Grand Slam doubles finals.
In 2013, ESPN landed media rights to the U.S. Open with the USTA with an 11-year deal valued at $770 million, according Front Office Sports.
CBS had previously held rights to the tournament for more than 45 years, but the network reportedly turned down a deal that would’ve cost over $30 million annually.
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