Serena Williams didn't win the US Open, but made the US Open a big winner.
By Erik Gudris | @ATNtennis | Tuesday, September 6, 2022

Serena Williams did not win this year’s US Open.

Yet she added another incredible statistic to her legendary career with a milestone in television ratings history.

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Friday night’s third round US Open match between Serena Williams and Ajla Tomljanovic drew historic ratings numbers for host network ESPN in the United States. Despite Tomljanovic prevailing in three sets, ESPN and Williams won the ratings night in a huge way.

According to Sports Media Watch, ESPN’s US Open coverage was the most watched show on any U.S. network for Friday night.

The match averaged 4.8 million viewers – the most watched tennis match on any network since Serena faced her sister Venus Williams in the 2015 US Open quarterfinals. That match occurred during Serena’s quest for the elusive calendar year Grand Slam.

The most recent high was the 2019 US Open women’s singles final where Bianca Andreescu defeated Serena Williams for the title.

Tennis Express

The Friday audience peaked at 6.9 million in the final fifteen minutes. That number exceeded every major singles final since Serena Williams defeated Victoria Azarenka in the 2013 US Open singles final, then broadcast on CBS.

The full ESPN telecast averaged 4.56 million, making it the most watched tennis telecast in the network’s history. The previous high was the 2012 Wimbledon men’s singles final between Roger Federer and Andy Murray.

Overall, US Open coverage averaged 1.1 million viewers through last Friday; that was up 101% from last year and set another record.

Photo credit: Al Bello/Getty