Author: Christian

Alessia Russo’s record-breaking run to the US Open final

Alessia Russo's record-breaking run to the US Open final

Euro 2022 winner Alessia Russo on making history, inspiring a generation and that viral backheel goal.

Alessia Russo is a two-time world champion and a winner of her second career WTA title. What she does in the coming weeks will be seen as a benchmark for young women in sport.

The 25-year-old from Palermo, Italy, won a record five WTA singles titles and one doubles title before ending her career on the highest-profile day in tennis history when she became the first woman in the Open Era to win three WTA singles titles and three ATP doubles titles in the same calendar year.

This is the story of Russo’s record-breaking comeback — from the brink of homelessness to back to the peak of the tennis world — in an exclusive interview with CNN.

Alessia Russo celebrates defeating Samantha Stosur on her record-breaking run to the final of the 2018 US Open. Getty

“The US Open was a huge event for me and for my career. It’s the first time I’ve ever played in a Slam semifinal. It was a special experience because I was playing in front of millions of people. This was my first time back to the No.1 ranking.

“I was about to lose in the first set against Caroline Wozniacki and I was able to play the final the following week against Maria Sharapova. The top-five rankings were my objective. If I managed to get the number one ranking and maintain it, that would be another sign of how important it was for me to win this tennis tournament.”

Russo’s record-breaking run to the final at the US Open came despite a disappointing start to the competition — she was down five sets in the opening round. She went on to win all four of her rounds before reaching the semifinal.

That was when things started to click. At the match point in the fourth set after losing a set, she delivered a backhand winner that rattled the net and gave her the momentum.

She continued the run to the final by beating Kiki Bertens in the second round and Jelena Ostapenko in the quarterfinals to set up her showdown with Serena Williams, the other champion from the first US Open of 2018.

Williams, a two-time winner at the US Open, fell to second in the standings after winning her first title. She was leading 2-0 in sets, 11

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