Serena Williams Marks Her 19th Consecutive Win Over Maria Sharapova in First U.S. Open Face-Off
Williams defeated Sharapova in two sets with a score of 6-1, 6-1 during the first round of the U.S. Open
Serena Williams has served up her first win at the 2019 U.S. Open!
The 23-time tennis champion defeated Maria Sharapova on the court in two sets with a score of 6-1, 6-1 during the tournament’s first-round on Monday.
With the victory, Williams also maintained her perfect record against Sharapova, earning her 19th consecutive win over the Russian athlete, dating back to the 2004 WTA Finals.
The match was tightly-contested for the first few points, but was quickly dominated by Williams, who built a 4-1 lead and went on to take the first set, 6-1.
The second set wasn’t much different, as Williams brought herself to an early lead with her aggressive play and eventually won, 6-1.
“She’s such a good player,” Williams, 37, said of her opponent after the victorious match, according to Tennis.com. “When you play her, you have to be super focused. Every time I come up against her, I bring out some of my best tennis.”
Williams now advances to play American Catherine “Caty” McNally, the 17-year-old wild card, in the second round on Wednesday.
The match between Williams and Sharapova marked the first time the players faced off at the annual Flushing Meadows event.
The last time the two played one another was in the 2016 Australian Open, though they were scheduled to compete during the fourth round of the 2018 French Open before Williams pulled out due to a pectoral muscle injury, according to the Women’s Tennis Association.
Ranked as a No. 8 seed, Williams is looking to win her 24th Grand Slam singles title, tying the record for most grand slam wins with Margaret Smith Court. The mother of Alexis Olympia has already surpassed tennis champion Steffi Graf’s 22 titles.
However, Williams’ recent injuries — which forced her to withdraw from the Cincinnati Masters and her final match of the Rogers Cup in Toronto due to back issues — have raised questions about how the champion will fare in this year’s open.
Russia’s Sharapova, 32, was forced to retire for the first time in her career at Wimbledon this year with a left forearm issue. Her appearance at Wimbledon 2019 was only her second tournament since she had shoulder surgery in January, NBC News reported.
Prior to the U.S. Open’s first round games, 11 of the best professional female tennis players partnered with Nike along with athletes and girls from the United States Tennis Association and New York Junior Tennis & Learning for the Queens of the Future event on Aug. 20.
The pop-up tennis stadium was located at William F. Passannante Ballfield on the corner of W. Houston and Avenue of the Americas, where Williams and Sharapova joined fellow tennis stars including Naomi Osaka, Sloane Stephens, Madison Keys and Simona Halep, to help inspire girls everywhere to follow their dreams, no matter how big.
Each star was paired up with young “queens” from the community to take on the court for a twist on a classic tennis game. Later, Sharapova, Stephens, Keys, and Halep played a quick doubles match on behalf of both youth organizations.
Though Williams didn’t play in any of the fun matches, she did share some of her wisdom and experience with the crowd of aspiring tennis stars.
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“Sport has really changed my life,” she said. “I’m here because of sport, and it has given me a lot of confidence, courage and discipline. It has helped me grow into the person I am today, so I think sport — especially in young ladies lives — is incredibly important at whatever level you choose to play it at.”
The tennis star also told attendees that it’s “so important to stay with sport.”
“It brings a lot of discipline, and I think staying with something,” Williams explained. “Even if you’re not successful or not the best at it — creates discipline and will help you later in life.”
The entirety of the U.S. Open will be broadcast on both ESPN and ESPN2. Tournament coverage will continue over the next two weeks, ending with the women’s singles final on Saturday, Sept. 7 at 4 p.m. EST and the men’s singles final on Sunday, Sept. 8, also at 4 p.m. EST.