Serena Williams will have another crack at slam No.24 in New York this next fortnight, finally hoping to match the record of Margaret Court. Off-court issues with Serena and her French Open outfit have been the biggest story this week but she looks to get back to business on Monday night when she plays Magda Linette for a spot in the second round.
Making the Wimbledon final last month puts her amongst the favourites, even after she was undone by a stellar defensive perfomance from Angelique Kerber in the final. Her results since then are nothing to shout about with two losses from three matches, most recently a three set loss to Petra Kvitova in Cincinnati. “That I would be the favorite at this point, almost a year after having a baby, is quite interesting,” Serena pondered. “I don’t know my draw, but if I want to be the best, I’m going to have to start beating these people anyway.”
Linette is nearing her career high ranking of 55 once again, coming into the tournament at 60 mostly thanks to good runs in Nanchang and Washington. A consistent top 100 player, she has never shown anything to suggest she can shock the top players on even the odd occasion. She holds a 1-15 record against top 20 players, the sole win coming against a still inconsistent Naomi Osaka.
“I feel like I have to just be happy, you know, continue to work hard. I’ve been working incredibly hard. I feel like it will for sure pay off eventually.” said the No. 17 seed. Tougher matches are ahead with the potential for her sister in round three and top seed Simona Halep in round four if the draw holds.
Prediction – Serena Williams in straight sets