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Serena Williams had the entire U.S. Open crowd behind her as she took the court for the first round of what is likely to be her final Grand Slam tournament of her career.
And she had a classic night.
Williams dominated Danka Kovinić, of Montenegro, in straight sets 6-3, 6-3, and showed she was still a force to be reckoned with hitting some shorts with the incredible precision she’s shown her entire career.
The 40-year-old tennis legend had nine cases and at one point won 11 points in a row and four games in a row. While Kovinić battled throughout the match, Williams tapped into her greatness and showed why she’s considered one of the best in the world, sprinting to return drop shots near the net and spiking the ball down on her opponent’s side any chance she got.
Gayle King, who was on the court to introduce Williams to the microphone, wondered whether Williams was truly going to stay retired as she looked like her old self.
“I always got to do the best that I can. I feel so comfortable on this court and in front of everyone here. When I step out onto the court, I just want to do the best that I can do on that particular day,” she said. “That’s really all I can do.”
She had immense support from the crowd and Williams described the fans as “crazy” and thanked them for their support.
Williams suggested the U.S. Open at Flushing Meadows in New York City would be her final tournament of her career as she evolved into a new phase of her career.
Williams will face the No. 2-seeded Anett Kontaveit, who beat out Jaqueline Cristian in straight sets as well 6-3, 6-0, the second round. The two will play each other on Wednesday.