Six-time US Open champion Serena Williams opened her campaign in style, comfortably beating long-time rival Maria Sharapova 6-1, 6-1 in 58 minutes. The most staggering stat of the match was the Russian not winning a single point, off her second serves (0/10).
Both players played quickly without giving any time for the other to set up her shot. Williams' directing the shots deep and nearer to the sidelines helped her as she promptly seized a two-break lead across both sets. Her opponent, on the other hand, had her chances – the 32-year-old Sharapova went 0/5 on breakpoints won – but could not make good use of any, either because of Williams' coming up with aces or because of her own erroneous shot-making.
The latter culled Sharapova's range of momentum, who had just the one winner off her forehand throughout the match. Stats-wise, Williams finished the match with twice the number of points as her opponent – 56 to 28.
She hit 16 winners and 12 unforced errors, with Sharapova's 20 unforced errors adding to her points-won count. Sharapova had just the six winners. This was the 2006 US Open champion's first loss in the first round at Flushing Meadows.
Before this result, she had gone 12-0 in the opening round. Williams, meanwhile, improved her first-round results at the event to 19-0. This was also her 20th win over Sharapova, with their head-to-head now reading 20-2. Speaking on the court after the match, Williams admitted that despite her record, the match-up was not easy.
"I mean, obviously, I’m going against a player who has won five grand slams and been in the final of even more so that’s never easy. Every practice after that was super intense." But she also said, "Every time I play against her (Sharapova), I bring out some of my best tennis."
The latter statement perfectly summarised the course of the match. Fifth seed Elina Svitolina needed 74 minutes to defeat wild card Whitney Osuigwe 6-1, 7-5 in their opening-round meeting. Svitolina had 17 winners to Osuigwe's 20 but she hit fewer unforced errors than her younger opponent, 17 to 35.
For the match, Svitolina finished with 65 points to the youngster's 45. In the American derby, 20th seed Sofia Kenin defeated former semi-finalist, Coco Vandeweghe 7-6(4), 6-3 in an hour and 44 minutes. Kenin won 80% points off her first serves to Vandeweghe's 70%.
She converted two of the six break points she had while saving all three break points she faced. She ended the match with 81 points to Vandeweghe's 64. Germany's Laura Siegemund defeated Polish qualifier, Magdalena Frech to move into the round-of-64.
Siegmund dropped the first set but made a comeback to complete a 5-7, 6-3, 6-4 win in two hours and 38 minutes. Siegmund finished the match with 51 winners to Frech's 21, winning 108 points to her 21-year-old opponent's 94. Photo Credit: Australian Open Twitter