Serena Williams will open the night session on Arthur Ashe Stadium on Day 3 of the US Open, taking on the German Carina Witthoeft for a place in round three. Simona Halep’s round one exit has made things a lot more wide open for her and others in the top quarter and half of the draw.
Witthoeft ended the hopes of another American in round one, beating Caroline Dolehide in straight sets to make it to the last 64. Since hitting a career high ranking inside the top 50 at the start of the year, it has been all downhill for the German. Before her win over Dolehide, she had won just one of her last fourteen matches across ITFs and main tour play.
For Serena, it was a fairly straight forward return to Flushing Meadows as she beat Magda Linette 6-4 6-0 in just over an hour. She was strong on serve, not facing a single break point while converting four of the six she had on return. “I feel pretty good,” Williams said afterwards, pleased with her performance. “First match of a Grand Slam is always good to get through…Right now I just feel like I’m on the road to getting better. I’m just going to be on that road till I get there”
Witthoeft has rarely troubled the top players in the game with just a 2-18 against the top 20 and winless against the top 10, suggesting it should be fairly straight forward for Serena. It’s hard to disagree with that unless something dramatically goes wrong. Tougher tests await for the six time champion, including a possible Friday night classic under the lights with her sister.
Prediction – Serena Williams in straight sets