Serena Williams starts US Open with a persuading singles win
Serena Williams, playing in what is probably the final tennis competition of her storied career, opened singles play with a 6-3, 6-3 triumph over Danka Kovinić in the first round of the US Open at Arthur Ashe Stadium.
Williams will open doubles play with her sister Venus on Wednesday.
Williams will confront world No. 2 Anett Kontaveit of Estonia in the singles round of 64, likewise on Wednesday. It will be their first career meeting.
After early battles with her serve Monday evening, Williams took 10 of the final 13 games against Kovinić, a 27-year-old from Montenegro who is ranked 80th in the world.
After the match, during a ceremony celebrating her tennis career, Williams said she got a lift from the vocal horde of very nearly 24,000 individuals. “The crowd was crazy,” she said.
Williams double-faulted twice in the first game yet at last increased her first serve rate to 66%. She won 33 of 43 first serve points.
A key moment came in the 6th game of the first set when Kovinić showed up very nearly a 4-2 lead. In any case, a Williams shot that looked long and wide was not one or the other, nipping the rear of the baseline and outside edge of the singles sideline. It was the first of 11 straight points for Williams as she drifted the rest of the way.
It was Williams’ third match since reporting she will “evolve away from tennis.”
“I have never liked the word retirement. It doesn’t feel like a modern word to me. I’ve been thinking of this as a transition, but I want to be sensitive about how I use that word, which means something very specific and important to a community of people,” Williams said in an article published earlier this month.
“Maybe the best word to describe what I’m up to is evolution. I’m here to tell you that I’m evolving away from tennis, toward other things that are important to me,” she said.
At her post-match news conference, she was inquired as to whether this is definitely her last competition.
“Yeah, I’ve been pretty vague about it, right?” she said with a smile. “I’m going to stay vague because you never know.”
Be that as it may, prior on the court, Williams, 40, said it was a difficult decision to continue on.
“I think when you’re passionate about something and you love something so much, it’s always hard to walk away,” she said. “Sometimes I think it’s hard to walk away than to not. That’s been the case for me.”
When asked by Gayle King what winning will be for her in the future, Williams highlighted her venture capital organization and furthermore said she wants to work on her spiritual life.
Williams’ singles win was seen by her husband, Alexis Ohanian, and their daughter, Olympia, with the young person wearing white dabs in her hair, suggestive of Williams’ look when she won the first of her six US Open titles as a teen in 1999.
“I look forward to waking up and just being like, OK, I don’t have to run to the court today,” Williams said. “I look forward to just being a mom. She’s such a good girl. I just want to be a good mom to her.”
Likewise on Monday, Daria Snigur of Ukraine, who won qualifying matches to get into the competition, upset No. 7 seed Simona Halep of Romania in three sets 6-2, 0-6, 6-4.
“This match for Ukraine, for my family, for all fans who supported me. I want to say thank you all,” an emotional Snigur said.
It was Snigur’s first-ever Grand Slam match at this level. She brought home the Wimbledon girls’ singles championship in 2019.