In her quest to claim the elusive 24th major crown, No. 3 seed Serena Williams cleared the first of seven hurdles at the 2020 US Open, taking out Kristie Ahn straight sets, 7-5, 6-3, to advance to the second round.
It was a small sigh of relief for the 38-year-old Williams, who hadn’t yet won a straight-set match in any of her previous events leading into the US Open. Now, she can breathe a bit easier.
“I was really happy with how I fought for every point, no matter how I was playing. I just had to get my ‘Serena’ focus back,” Williams said with a laugh. “But I felt really good throughout the match, I just kept telling myself that I needed to be Serena and close it out. I was able to do that and I’m happy to move on.”
Williams struck eight aces and compiled 17 winners to dominate the first set. But credit to Ahn, who showed no sign of nerves and played aggressive tennis, taking it to the No. 3 seed and exerting pressure through a tight 7-5 opening set.
The second set opened exactly like the first, with Ahn getting an early break and a 2-0 lead. Serving at 2-1, 40-15, Ahn made a few costly mistakes that, when committed against a player like Williams, were a few mistakes too many. As Ahn’s game began to unravel, Williams won six of the next seven games to close out the match.
US Open 2020 : Williams chasing history this US Open 2020
Williams’ quest for history falls in multiple categories of the record books. Her first-round win Tuesday puts her in the lead for most US Open match wins (102-13) in the Open Era, ahead of Chris Evert (101-12). She is also tied with Evert for the most US Open championships with six. Should she win the 2020 US Open title and bring her Grand Slam total to 24, Williams would tie Margaret Court on the all-time list.
Though she secured an opening round win on Tuesday, it’s still a long way to go for Williams if she wants to continue her historic quest over the fortnight. Other potential roadblocks include No. 26 Sloane Stephens, No. 7 Madison Keys, and No. 10 Garbiñe Muguruza, all of whom sit in the same half of the draw as Williams.
US Open Day 2 Results
The two-time US Open finalist Victoria Azarenka and reigning Cincinnati champion defeated Austria’s Barbara Haas, 6-1, 6-2, in 59 minutes to advance into the second round of the 2020 US Open.
Milos Raonic followed up his run to the Western & Southern Open final with a dominant Round 1 victory over Leonardo Mayer at the 2020 US Open. Victory was never in doubt for the 6-foot-5 Canadian, with the scoreline ending 6-3, 6-2, 6-3.
No. 8 seed Roberto Bautista Agut of Spain defeated Tennis Sandgren of USA ranked No. 48 in straight sets, 6-4, 6-4, 7-6.