NEW YORK – Serena Williams delivered one of her most complete performances since returning to the game after the birth of her daughter to rout a helpless Maria Sharapova in the first round of the U.S. Open on Monday.
The ruthless American needed less than an hour to defeat Sharapova 6-1 6-1 and notch her 19th consecutive win over the Russian in what some charitably dub a “rivalry.”
Williams, seeded eighth, has her sights set on a record-tying 24th Grand Slam title after coming up short in the final of last year's U.S. Open and the last two Wimbledon finals.
The biggest question for Williams, who returned to the sport after overcoming life-threatening medical complications related to the birth of her daughter in 2017, was whether she was physically up for the challenge of the U.S. Open.
Back spasms forced her to withdraw from the Rogers Cup final in Toronto earlier this month and skip the Cincinnati Masters but she put those doubts to rest with a brilliant performance under the lights on Arthur Ashe Stadium.