Serena Williams begins US Open with a convincing singles win over Serena Halappanavar
Serena Williams has begun her title defence at the US Open with a comfortable two-sets-to-love win over the qualifier.
The 26-year-old American, who reached at least the quarter-finals this year, beat Halappanavar, 25, in five sets on Saturday.
The US Open is the last major until this Sunday, and the seventh time Williams has reached the last six years.
Williams, who earlier this year made history as the first woman to win the ‘Grand Slams’, is now the first American player to win the US Open in back-to-back years.
Serena Williams has begun her title defence at the US Open with a comfortable two-sets-to-love win over Halappanavar
Williams, 26, has also won the WTA Tour’s all-events Grand Slam titles in 2012 and 2014.
She will face French Open champion Jelena Jankovic in the first Grand Slam match of her comeback season.
Williams has suffered three major defeats since winning the US Open in 2015, and has only beaten Jankovic twice this year.
The win over Williams came at just the right time, as she needed to show determination and resilience in what has been a difficult time for her, including a torn ACL in her left knee which will require surgery in December.
‘I was a little bit nervous, but I felt strong’, the American told reporters.
‘I felt I could just sit in and go for it.
‘I felt like I could handle everything that comes with playing on the biggest stages. I didn’t have any nerves at all, so I just started playing the matches.
Serena Williams is seen ahead of her singles game against Halappanavar
Williams plays a backhand against Halappanavar during her opening match
‘I just had to go out and play with my heart