An all-American clash kicks off the night session on Arthur Ashe Stadium on Thursday night as World No.1 Serena Williams takes on Vania King in the second round of the US Open. To keep her No.1 ranking, Serena must keep winning as an early exit will see her lengthy run at the top end, most likely at the hands of Angelique Kerber.
Serena navigated what looked to be a tricky match on paper, seeing off the Russian Ekaterina Makarova in straight sets 6-3 6-3. More impressively, she served 12 aces to just 1 double fault and did not face a break point. Worries over her fitness looked to be overstated given the comfortable nature of the victory.
She did comment however on how the shoulder injury still had an impact on serving, even if the stats did not bear that out so much. “I didn’t make too many adjustments. I didn’t hit them as hard as I normally hit them. I just went for more placement. I didn’t go for the big 120mphs” said Serena.
Meanwhile, King’s success in the game has mostly been at the doubles level and she has infact won the US Open in the Women’s Doubles once before – with Yaroslava Shvedova in 2010. Prior to the US Open, King was a finalist in the Nanchang event in China losing to Ying-Ying Duan in a match she will have been disappointed to lose. To book her place in the second round, King beat Antonia Lottner in straight sets.
A possible rematch of the 2011 final between Serena and Sam Stosur awaits in round four but Serena must first navigate this match and the winner of the Johanna Larsson-Denise Allertova match. Neither should pose any problems for Serena who will be able to continue easing her way into the tournament and lightening the load on her shoulder before tougher matches come in week two.
Prediction – Serena Williams in straight sets