NEW YORK—Serena Williams faced two opponents on Thursday in Ashe Stadium. One of them, Vania King, she of the 87-M.P.H. first serve, never bothered her; Serena dismissed her fellow American 6-1, 6-0 in 56 minutes. But her other opponent, the breeze that swirled around the court and turned both players’ shots into knuckleballs, required some effort to subdue.
The wind did its most impressive tricks with Serena’s serve. She double-faulted twice in her first service game, and three more times in the match. Only a very good kick second delivery, which King couldn’t handle, kept her from getting broken early. Serena spent much of her time between points shaking her head in disbelief at what the wind was getting up to out there. On a different day, it might have left her utterly exasperated.
If anything, though, today it helped her concentrate on moving her feet and making clean contact. Serena finished with 25 winners and 15 errors, a more than respectable ratio on a day like this. She was early to the ball, and when she got a short one, she made no mistake with it. Serena, grunting more than she normally would in a blowout win, was determined to drive her shots through the breeze. The standard tactic on a day like this is to hit the ball right down the middle of the court, but not for her. She didn’t let it keep her from going for her shots.
One countrywoman down, another to go for Serena, as she next faces her sometime practice partner Varvara Lepchenko.
Photo by Anita Aguilar.