In an attempt to regain the dominance that saw her win three straight U.S. Open titles from 2012 to 2014, Serena Williams moved past fellow American Vania King in straight sets (6-3, 6-3) in the second round Thursday night at Arthur Ashe Stadium in Queens, New York.
With Williams' No. 1 world ranking on the line, there was added stress to put on a good performance at this year's U.S. Open. But playing at Arthur Ashe Stadium usually bodes well for her, as she entered Thursday night with an 80-10 record, which is the best winning percentage in the venue's history, per ESPN Stats & Info.
King, who is better known for her doubles play, has also had success in New York, bringing home a U.S. Open title with Yaroslava Shvedova in 2010.
As she often does, Williams used her big serve to set the tone early. In the first game alone, she recorded three aces. In total, she recorded 13 aces on the night.
"I don't think. I just ace," she told the media Tuesday, per SportsCenter.
After just seven minutes, Williams already had a 3-0 lead in the first set and looked to be well on her way to victory.
She had some friends watching her from the player's box, as the WTA showed:
King battled in the fourth game to win her first of the match, using well-placed serves that forced Williams to address the ball out wide and away from her body.
After Williams quickly took the fifth game, King went right back to her plan on the serve, shutting out Williams in the sixth game.
It became clearer as the match progressed that Williams' timing was off against King's slower serve, but Williams' sheer power and dominance on her own serve ensured that King couldn't grab any momentum.
Of 36 possible points on the first serve, Williams won 30 (83 percent). Even when King was fortunate enough to see Williams commit a fault, she didn't fare much better. Of 53 received serves, the underdog won just 15 points on the evening.
King came out and won the first game of the second set, but that was the only lead she would have, as Williams managed to gain the lead and keep it, taking six of the next eight games to clinch the match in just over an hour.
Not only did the win move her into the third round of the U.S. Open, but it was also her 306th victory in a Grand Slam match, which tied her with Martina Navratilova for the most in women's tennis history, per the WTA:
In Round 3, Williams will play Johanna Larsson, who swept Denisa Allertova in straight sets earlier Thursday. Williams, who will look to continue her run deep into the U.S. Open, won their two prior meetings.
Williams was quick to point out after her match that it wasn't her best performance, per Nick McCarvel of USA Today: "I feel like I made a lot of errors. What really matters is I got the win. Hopefully I'll just get better."
King told the media she noticed Williams was frustrated, per the Associated Press (via Tennis Magazine): "I think Serena's a perfectionist. She always wants to play her best. ... If she doesn't play really well, she's always a little bit hard on herself."
Luckily for Williams, her not-so-great day was good enough to get to the next round of a major tournament.
Given her ability to adjust her play and rise to the occasion on the biggest stages, it's safe to assume Williams is going to come back and play a match more to her liking Saturday.
Stats courtesy of USOpen.org.