Serena Williams kicks off US Open with convincing singles win

Williams will open the doubles game with her sister Venus on Wednesday.

Williams will face world No. 2 Anett Kontaveit of Estonia in the 64th singles final, also on Wednesday. This will be their first professional meeting.

After early struggles with her serve on Monday night, Williams has won 10 of the last 13 games against Kovinić, a 27-year-old Montenegrin ranked 80th in the world.

After the match, at a ceremony celebrating her tennis career, Williams said she got a boost from the vocal crowd of nearly 24,000. “The crowd was crazy,” she said.

Williams double faulted twice in the opener but eventually increased his first serve percentage to 66%. She won 33 of the first 43 service points.

A key moment came in game six of the first set when Kovinić appeared poised to lead 4-2. But a Williams shot that looked long and wide was neither, pinching the back of the baseline and the outside edge of the sideline in singles. It was the first of 11 straight points for Williams as she went the rest of the way.

It was Williams’ third match since announcing she would be “playing away from tennis”.

“I’ve never liked the word retirement. It doesn’t sound like a modern word to me. I thought of it as a transition, but I want to be sensitive to how I use that word, which means something very specific and important to a community of people,” Williams said in a Vogue article published earlier this month.

“Perhaps the best word to describe what I do is evolution. I’m here to tell you that I’m evolving away from tennis, towards other things that are important to me,” she said.

During his post-match press conference, he was asked if this was indeed his last tournament.

“Yeah, I’ve been pretty vague about that, haven’t I?” She said with a smile. “I’ll keep it vague because you never know.”

But earlier on the pitch, Williams, 40, said it was a tough decision to move 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 harder to walk away than not. That’s been the case for me.”

When Gayle King asked her what would gain for her in the future, Williams brought up her venture capital firm and also said she wanted to work on her spiritual life.

Williams’ singles victory was seen by her husband, Alexis Ohanian, and their daughter, Olympia, with the youngster sporting white pearls in her hair, reminiscent of the look Williams had when she won the first of her six singles titles. the US Open as a teenager in 1999. .

“I can’t wait to wake up and be like, OK, I don’t have to run to court today,” Williams said. “I can’t wait to be a mom. She’s such a good girl. I just want to be a good mom to her.”

Also on Monday, Ukraine’s Daria Snigur, who won qualifying matches to enter the tournament, beat No. 7 Romania’s Simona Halep in straight sets 6-2, 0-6, 6-4.

“This game for Ukraine, for my family, for all the fans who supported me. I want to say thank you to everyone,” an emotional Snigur said.

It was Snigur’s first-ever Grand Slam match at this level. She won the Wimbledon women’s singles title in 2019.

CNN’s Jill Martin contributed to this report.

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