Serena Williams Breezes by Magda Linette in Straight Sets at Round 1 of US Open

Rob Goldberg@TheRobGoldbergFeatured ColumnistAugust 28, 2018

Serena Williams reacts after a point against Magda Linette, of Poland, during the first round of the U.S. Open tennis tournament, Monday, Aug. 27, 2018, in New York. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)
Julio Cortez/Associated Press

Serena Williams kicked off her run at the 2018 U.S. Open with a 6-4, 6-0 Round 1 win over Magda Linette.

The 23-time singles Grand Slam winner took 10 of the last 11 games Monday in Arthur Ashe Stadium in Queens, New York, to help her cruise into the second round. She also moves to 68-1 in first-round matches at Grand Slams in her career.

Williams had lost two of her last three matches entering the hard-court tournament, but she showed she is still a top contender for the final major event of the year.

The 36-year-old was dominant with her serve in Round 1, winning 73.9 percent of total service points without facing a break point. She also had five aces and zero double faults.

Linette was one of the few players who could match Williams with her power—both averaged 102 miles per hour with their first serves—but it wasn't enough.

Soraya Nadia McDonald of The Undefeated also noted Serena's all-around power:

Her success at the net was also valuable in quickly closing out the win.

The American was a bit sloppy at the beginning of the match, with four unforced errors coming in the first game alone. The two battled for six games before either player could earn a break, which the favorite finally did in the seventh game.

This was all she needed to come away with the 6-4 opening set victory.

Williams turned it on in the second set, producing spectacular tennis:

That rally followed a cross-court winner that left multiple tennis experts nearly speechless:

She eventually closed things out with an ace to secure a bagel in the second set:

Williams missed the U.S. Open last season because of her pregnancy, but she was given the No. 17 seed because of her past success despite being nine spots lower in the world rankings.

She is also just as motivated to win as she was prior to becoming a mother, as she explained before the match. 

"If anything, I have more fire in my belly," she said Sunday, per Helene Elliott of the Los Angeles Times. "It's very difficult to describe. I thought after having a child I would be more relaxed. I think I've said this before, but I'm not. I work just as hard, if not harder, actually. I just feel like I take it just as serious if not more. That's been really surprising for me."

After a strong start to the U.S. Open, she will look for more success as she tries to add another major title to her resume.

With one more championship, she will match Margaret Court for the all-time record with 24 career Grand Slam singles titles.

She will first have to get past Carina Witthoft in Round 2, while her sister Venus Williams looms as a possible opponent in Round 3.

         

Note: All statistics courtesy of the event's official site.

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