US Open: Serena continues bid for 24th Grand Slam title after round one victory

Reuters
New York Published: Sep 02, 2020, 08:00 AM(IST)

Serena Williams Photograph:( Reuters )

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Williams got off to a slow start, showing signs of nervousness early in the first set, but kicked her game into high gear in the second, firing off 13 aces and 28 winners during the match and harnessing her powerful return to keep her opponent on the run.

Serena Williams took her first step toward a record-equaling 24th Grand Slam title on Tuesday (September 1), defeating Kristie Ahn 7-5 6-3 in the first round of the U.S. Open.

Williams got off to a slow start, showing signs of nervousness early in the first set, but kicked her game into high gear in the second, firing off 13 aces and 28 winners during the match and harnessing her powerful return to keep her opponent on the run.

A final serve forced Ahn into an error, as Williams claimed a record 102nd U.S. Open match victory, as she scored her first straight-sets win since the sport was put on a coronavirus hiatus.

Williams, who reached the final of the U.S. Open in her last two campaigns, is gunning for her first Grand Slam title since 2017 to equal Margaret Court's record in a depleted field in which six of the top 10 players are not competing this year.

She next faces Margarita Gasparyan of Russia in the second round.

Also Read: Venus out of US Open in first round for first time

Williams' U.S. compatriot Madison Keys needed just 55 minutes to beat Timea Babos 6-1 6-1 to advance in her opening match as the 2017 finalist looks to claim her elusive first Grand Slam title.

The hard-hitting American won 92% of her first serve points and never faced a break point while playing smothering defense against the overmatched Hungarian.

The 25-year-old Keys, who drew comparisons to 23-time Grand Slam champion Serena Williams when she joined the tour in 2009, has been consistently ranked in the top 25 and won five titles.

But the lack of a Grand Slam title has cast a shadow over her career.

She fell to fellow American and friend Sloane Stephens in the final at Flushing Meadows three years ago, her closest brush with Grand Slam glory.

This year's depleted field could open the door for the seventh seeded Keys, who will face either Jil Teichmann of Switzerland or Aliona Bolsova of Spain in the second round.
 

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