Serena Williams was not concerned about lack of match time after spending just 30 minutes on court during her first round match at the US Open

Serena ready for challenge after first round breeze



Originally published on 01/09/15

On an eventful opening day at Flushing Meadows, Vitalia Diatchenko’s retirement at 6-0 2-0 down sealed Williams’ place in the second round as she kicked off her bid for a seventh US Open title.

Diatchenko, who came in for her post-match press conference wearing a boot on her injured left ankle, won just five points against the world No.1 before tearfully throwing in the towel.

"I told her I was proud of her for coming out and making this effort, knowing she was injured," Williams said. "That's a great effort.”

When asked if she was concerned that she would not be ready for her second-round match after barely breaking a sweat against Diatchenko, Williams insisted it would not be an issue. The American will play Kiki Bertens on Wednesday after the Dutchwoman beat Mirjana Lucic-Baroni 3-6 6-4 6-2.

“I don't think that's a worry, because my practices are really intense and I really fight really hard in practice,” said Williams. “I know that every match is a challenge. I have to be ready for everything.”

Williams, who is already in possession of all four major titles, is bidding to become the first player, male or female, to win a calendar year Grand Slam since Steffi Graf in 1988. Her chances of reaching the final were boosted before she even took to court as No.3 seed Maria Sharapova withdrew with a knee injury on the eve of the tournament, and she is the only top-10 player remaining in the top half of the draw following early exits for No.7 seed Ana Ivanovic and No.8 seed Karolina Pliskova and No.10 seed Carla Suarez Navarro.

The 21-time Grand Slam champion will not meet a Top 30 player until at least the fourth round after No.29 seed Sloane Stephens was beaten by fellow American Coco Vandeweghe.

“Sloane played CoCo, who is a fire player, and that is not an easy match,” Williams said of Stephens’ defeat. “I can't say it's surprising. Coco, she's a really good player. We've had a lot of tough matches together. When she's on, she can really take out a lot of people. I think we've seen that [when] she got to the quarterfinals of Wimbledon.”


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