Serena Williams continues her chase for No.24 on Thursday, playing Russia’s Margarita Gasparyan for a spot in the last 32. It could be an all-American matchup in the third round with Sloane Stephens the likely opponent up for the winner here.
Gasparyan ended a six match losing streak, across ITF and qualifying, to make it into the second round. She took advantage of a rusty Monica Puig, beating the Puerto Rican in three sets 6-3 6-7 6-0 for her second consecutive second round in New York.
Serena didn’t have it all her own way in round, having to come from a break down in both sets to defeat Kristie Ahn 7-5 6-3. She will be happy with her performance from a serving stand point, having hit 13 aces in the win. “It was just getting the rhythm in the early part of the match, first round is always tough for me. I think Kristie, she really strikes the ball really hard. She mixes up a lot. She plays a lot of the different shots. You don’t really know what to expect.” she said afterwards.
Serena will be happy to have seen her opener out in straight sets, having played five consecutive deciding sets since the tour resumed. “I feel like I have been focused, but I’ve been losing matches on literally one point that could swing a match a different way. I’ve been playing a ton of tight matches.” she added after her opener. Keeping it light through the opening few rounds is going to be key for Serena if she is to be lifting the trophy in a couple of weekend’s time.
Prediction – Serena Williams in straight sets