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Sunday, January 29, 2023

US Open: Serena wins in front of raucous crowd in opener

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On Opening Night at Arthur Ashe Stadium, Serena Williams regisetered 6-3, 6-3 victory over Danka Kovinic of Montenegro to advance to the second round of the US Open, the seasons final Grand Slam.

Williams, who joined her sister Venus Williams, Hall of Famer Martina Navratilova and Japan’s Kimiko Date in matching the feat, also kept her perfect first-round record intact in Flushing Meadows, improving to a spotless 21-0.

She set up second round meeting with No.2 seed Anett Kontaveit on Wednesday.

The 40-year-old American became only the fourth woman in the Open Era to win matches in her teens, 20s, 30s and 40s after win over Kovinic on Monday night.

Williams has now won 107 matches in New York, and 102 of them have come in Arthur Ashe Stadium, nearly half of them at night.

Most of the record 29,402 in attendance, which included such A-listers as Bill Clinton, Hugh Jackman, Spike Lee, Mike Tyson, Lindsey Vonn and Queen Latifah, were there to catch one last glimpse of the most dominant women’s tennis player of the Open Era, whose 23 Grand Slam singles titles include a co-record six at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center.

“When I walked out, the reception was really overwhelming,” said Williams. “It was loud, and I could feel it in my chest. It was a really good feeling. It’s a feeling I’ll never forget. That meant a lot to me.

“I was just thinking, ‘Is this for real? Really?’ At the same time, I’m also thinking, ‘I still have a match to play, and I want to be able to play up to this reception.’ It was so loud. I just was overwhelmed in a good way. At the same time, it’s like you have to be focused, you have to be laser-focused. That’s what I needed to do, and that’s what I tried to do.”

UNI BAV

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