Serena Williams begins US Open with a convincing singles win No. 1 seed
Serena Williams closed out her maiden grand slam with a 6-3, 6-4 win over Sloane Stephens Monday at the US Open.
The 37-year-old American made quick work of her last-five opponent, winning her first singles match since February 2016 and breaking Stephens in the third set.
Serena’s performance saw her move into the top 10 of the world rankings, marking only the fifth U.S. player to reach that mark. The top three — Billie Jean King and Bob Hewitt and Martina Navratilova — have made the top 10 all but 14 times in U.S. history.
“I didn’t really enjoy going out here,” Williams said. “My first match wasn’t that great. I was rusty. I didn’t have any power left and I was just playing with my backhand.”
Serena, who is the reigning Wimbledon singles champion, will now await her quarterfinal opponent Kim Clijsters, a former world No. 1 who dropped her first-round match at the tournament last year. Williams was scheduled to play the Canadian after falling out of the top 100 of the world rankings.
Stephens, who lost in the first round at Wimbledon as well, rallied to win her third straight match, with a double bagel in the last game to force a decider.
Stephens was attempting to qualify for her first Grand Slam tournament after earning her maiden ITF title in Indian Wells in March. Though she beat Williams in qualifying, Stephens will now have to wait for a final-round clash against either Lucie Safarova or Elina Svitolina. Of course, Serena will have to wait another week to make her WTA quarterfinals.
Williams, seeded third in the tournament, did not play her biggest weapon, her serve. She was able to hit her first match winner, though.
When she won the first set 6-0, Williams said she felt more comfortable, as her opponent was serving extremely well. After going up 5-4, Williams said she was still trying to figure out what she was doing.