Serena Slaps Sharapova Around At US Open; Osaka Begins Title Defense Tuesday
by Staff | August 27th, 2019, 12:00 am
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Serena Williams didn’t relent in taking down rival Maria Sharapova Monday night at the US Open. In their first match at the US Open and their first encounter in well over three years, Serena slammed Sharapova 6-1, 6-1 in just 59 minutes.

“I just feel like her game really matches up well against mine,” Serena said. “I always said her ball somehow lands in my strike zone. I don’t know. It’s just perfect for me.

“I think I was able to zone in, especially down breakpoints, not letting her in the match because she’s the kind of player that keeps going,” she added. “Even towards the end, she just wants to keep fighting. One point here or there, she could have won at least another game.

“I wanted to make sure I stayed focused.”

The win was Serena 19th straight win over the Russian who failed to win a single point on any of her 10 second serves on the night.

“Bottom line is I believe in my ability. You can write me off. There are many people that can write me off, especially after going down 6-1, 6-1 in the first round of the US Open,” Sharapova said.

“As long as it’s not the person that’s inside of you, you’ll be okay.”

Serena, who stays undefeated in the first round at the US Open, moves on to meet 17-year-old Caty McNally who ousted former French semifinalist Timea Bacsinszky in straight sets 6-4, 6-1.

Earlier in the day, Serena’s elder sister, 39-year-old Venus, showed little of her age by crushing July San Jose winner Saisai Zheng 6-1, 6-0.

“I don’t recall the first rounds that much anymore, but this was a good one,” Venus said.

“She’s playing really well, honestly. Confident, does everything well. So it was great to be able to perform well against her. Good win today.”

World No.1 Ash Barty got off to a very rocky start before finding her form in a 1-6, 6-3, 6-2 victory over Zarina Diyas.

“I just didn’t give myself a chance in that first set,” Barty said. “Sort of appalling, probably made a set’s worth of errors. We were able to find a way after that to get into the match and be more patient and really just lock down and wait until I got the right balls and right patterns that I wanted.

“That was probably the biggest change in the second and third – I was able to get more of those patterns more regularly and in the end build pressure to create more opportunities to break.”

Looming for the Australian in the third round could be Maria Sakkari who demolished Bronx finalist Camila Giogi 6-1,6-0.

It was a mixed day for 2016 finalists. Title winner Angelique Kerber’s slump continued as the German was trounced by Kristina Mladenovic 7-5, 0-6, 6-4. Kerber has won just two matches in New York in the last three years, and hasn’t made a Slam quarter since her 2018 Wimbledon title.

“Of course it’s a big thing for me to beat Angelique, for whom I have such big respect,” Mladenovic said. “She’s such a great champion, with lots of experience in the Grand Slams. It’s never easy to beat such a player.”

Karolina Pliskova dropped serve six times but the 2016 finalist advanced over countrywoman Tereza Martincova in two breakers.

Elswhere, Johanna Konta, Elina Svitolina, Sofia Kenin and Madison Keys were also winners.

On Tuesday, the struggling Naomi Osaka tests the left knee in her title defense opener against rising 20-year-old Russian Anna Blinkova.

Wimbledon champ Simona Halep and Sloane Stephens also headline play along with the return of Wimbledon start Coco Gauff who meets the 18-year-old who knocked out Kerber from the French, Anastasia Potapova.

Canadian teen Bianca Andreescu and Petra Kvitova and Kiki Bertens.

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