When Kiki Bertens faces Serena Williams today in the U.S. Open, it will be the biggest match of her life.
The 23-year-old Dutch player, ranked 110th in the world, will try to grapple with the world's No. 1 player on the Arthur Ashe Stadium court in a second-round match.
Against Williams, Bertens will be going up against an all-time great with an all-time reserve of mental toughness. Bertens has made a point of watching Williams play, and cites her steely mentality as a weapon as big as her serve.
"I think mentally she's great; even when she's down, she's always fighting for every point," Bertens said. "She's really aggressive. I love to watch her play. I think her game is unbelievable, she is so aggressive. I think I can learn a lot from that because I'm trying to play aggressive, too."
It's fairly safe to say that Williams has little firsthand knowledge of Bertens' game, having never played her. Nonetheless, "I think she's playing well," Williams said. "She does a lot of things well. She had a big serve. It's definitely something that I look forward to."
Bertens is 6 feet, and won a slugfest with Mirjana Lucic-Baroni, which at least gives her a taste of the power that Williams serves up.