With one Grand Slam victory and two Olympic gold medals already to her name in 2012, Serena Williams has put together another spectacular season, but she still needs to capture the U.S. Open title to make it unforgettable.
Williams reached the Open final last year, but finished runner-up to Australian Samantha Stosur and there's no doubt Serena will be looking to best her 2011 result in this year's tournament.
If the Olympic gold medalist can win her fourth U.S. Open, that would give Williams 15 Grand Slam titles and two in 2012. The last time the younger Williams sister won two Grand Slams in the same season came in 2010, when she took home the Wimbledon and Australian Open titles.
For all her many accomplishments and her already cemented place in women's tennis history, 2011 was a year to forget for Williams and this year didn't start on the best note either.
After her loss at the 2012 Australian Open and first ever first-round exit from the French Open, the murmurs began about Williams. People began to wonder if the 30-year-old tennis player was beginning the slow decline that would ultimately end in her retirement.
That was, until Williams turned everything around by dominating the courts at Wimbledon through the summer. She won the tournament at the All England Club before winning singles and doubles gold in the 2012 London Olympics there as well.
Due to this recent streak of success, Williams heads into the U.S. Open as one of the favorites to win the title, with some of her colleagues in Stosur and Kim Clijsters explaining why to Reuters (via The Times of India).
"Serena is the best ever just because physically she just stands out...What we have seen over the last few months is the best player ever," Clijsters said.
Williams' 2011 U.S. Open final opponent echoed similar words, stating: "Serena is probably the favorite coming in given her recent form. No matter who you are, I don't think you can really deny that."
If Williams could end her season with two Grand Slam titles, two Olympic gold medals and add to her other four tournament victories, it would go down as one the greatest in her career.
All of the previous doubters would be forced to keep the retirement talk at bay and simply marvel at the talent Williams has shown this year.