Serena Williams dominated Maria Sharapova, 6-1, 6-1, Monday evening at the US Open to post her most emphatic victory over the Russian since dropping just one game in their gold medal match at the 2012 London Olympics.
Our live blog following the first-round encounter is below.
Serena's on-court reaction
Speaking with Rennae Stubbs, Williams had this to say following her victory.
On learning about drawing Sharapova in her opening match:
"Obviously, I’m going against a player who’s won five Grand Slams. So that’s never easy. So every practice after that was super intense, super focused, because it’s an incredibly tough draw."
On how she's posted 19th consecutive wins over Sharapova:
"She’s such a good player. When you play her, you have to be super focused. Every time I come up against her, I bring out some of my best tennis."
On her backhand winner serving at 2-1, 30-40, in the second set:
"That was definitely a big point for me. I was like, really excited that I hit that winner."
Second set: Serena wins 6-1
After erasing three more break points to win the longest game of the match, Williams had no trouble closing out her 19th win in a row over Sharapova. The 32-year-old finished without winning a point on her second serve (0/10). Williams advances to face 17-year-old wild card Caty McNally.
Second set: Serena leads 4-1
Sharapova put the Williams serve in play and drew a couple of errors with confident hitting on the forehand wing to set up her first two break points of the match down 2-1. The 2006 US Open winner had a tremendous look at 30-40, coming in on a solid forehand, but Serena’s backhand reply was simply sublime, whizzing past the charging Sharapova. Williams subsequently deflated the Russian in the following game, overpowering Sharapova in a baseline exchange to open a double break advantage.
Second set: Serena leads 2-0
Williams is on a tear, winning 19 of 22 points. She breaks to start the second set with a massive forehand return winner that handcuffs Sharapova. A hold at 15 increases Serena’s streak to seven consecutive games (and 23 of 27 points). This match is all hers.
First set: Serena wins 6-1
After her emotional ending to the final on this court just under a year ago, Williams could not have asked for a better first set to her 2019 campaign.
-Nine winners to three unforced errors (including three aces)
-11/13 points won on first serve
-Two for two on her break point chances
-24 minutes of work
First set: Serena leads 4-1
Early on, this match has the intensity of a later-round clash. After being pushed to deuce in the third game when Sharapova ripped a cross-court backhand return winner, Williams upped her aggression—then continued bashing from the baseline to force errors off Sharapova's racquet for the first break. Sharapova hasn’t donated any double faults in going for a higher-percentage play on serve, but a safe approach isn’t going to work against a champion she hasn’t defeated in nearly 15 years.
Players are ready
The players have made their way to Arthur Ashe Stadium to roaring applause. Williams and Sharapova are joined by Billie Jean King and a USTA Net Generation junior player for the coin toss. Serena, dressed in black, won the toss and elected to serve.
Of note: Serena has won 71 of her 72 major openers. Her lone loss came at the hands of Virginie Razzano in the first round of 2012 Roland Garros.
Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova are set to face off for the first time at Flushing Meadows in a showdown of career Grand Slam holders. Williams has won their past 18 meetings, dating back to the 2004 WTA Finals, and has won 16 successive sets over the Russian (36-3 overall during the streak). The 37-year-old is 7-1 against Sharapova on the major stage, holding wins at the other Grand Slam events. Sharapova’s lone success came in the 2004 Wimbledon final.
Both come into the clash undefeated in the opening round at the New York major: Williams is 18-0, Sharapova 12-0. Williams is playing her first match since retiring down 3-1 to Bianca Andreescu in the first set of the Toronto final. Currently ranked No. 87, Sharapova’s last match was a 6-4, 6-1 defeat to Ashleigh Barty in the second round of Cincinnati.
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