Serena Williams has achieved another milestone in her career with yet another victory at the US Open.
The No. 3 seeded Williams secured a 7-5, 6-3 win over fellow American Kristie Ahn in her opening-round match. With that result, Williams now owns the most singles matches wins in US Open history.
Williams had to work hard for her opening-round win against the current 96th ranked Ahn who reached the US Open fourth round last year.
The former No. 1 is still in search of her 24th career major singles title, which would tie her for the record with Margaret Court. Williams still needed to play her best on the relatively empty Arthur Ashe Stadium.
“I was really happy with how I fought for every point no matter how I was playing. I just had to get my Serena focus going, so that was what I was trying to work on today,” Williams said after the match.
Williams was one of the first players to commit to this year’s US Open despite the uncertainty surrounding holding a major tennis event during the pandemic. With six of the top 10 WTA players not in the field, many see this as Williams’ best chance to win yet another major. Despite her patchy play in warm-up events in Lexington and Cincinnati, she is still one of the favorites to claim the title.
The 23-time Grand Slam champion, who had not won in straight sets since January’s Australian Open, struggled early against Ahn who broke serve in the opening game. While Ahn played steady tennis from the baseline, Williams relied on her massive serve to keep her in close contact in the set.
Williams joked later about not having won in straight sets for a while.
“It’s been years! Since the 90s since I won a match in straight sets. It felt really good. I told myself ‘Be Serena and close it out. So it felt really good!”
Williams broke back in the first set for 2-all but still had to battle from the baseline. Late in the set, Williams increased her intensity. Williams earned a key break to take the set 7-5.
Ahn, who looked very relaxed on the nearly empty stadium court, once again broke Williams to start the second set. But Williams started to find her range midway through the set.
The six-time US Open champion broke back for 2-all as Ahn started to overhit on several shots. Later, Williams struck a strong backhand return winner to jump out ahead for 4-2.
Williams soon struck her 11th ace of the match for a 5-2 lead. Though Ahn held serve in the next game, it only delayed the inevitable as Williams served to close out the match. A final massive serve from Williams secured the straight-sets win.