NEW YORK – Serena Williams booked her place in the third round of the US Open on Thursday, defeating Russia’s Margarita Gasparyan in straight sets.
Third seed Williams wrapped up a 6-2, 6-4 victory in 1hr 33min on the Arthur Ashe Stadium court and will now play fellow American Sloane Stephens in the last 32.
Williams, 38, looked in imperious form in the opening set, serving well and unfurling some thunderous groundstrokes to keep Gasparyan on the back foot.
Two breaks of serve helped Williams into a 5-1 lead and she had little difficulty closing out the set. She was made to work harder in the second, and was broken twice by Gasparyan who clawed her way back to 4-4.
However the 117th ranked Russian was unable to build on that momentum and was broken when serving to stay in the match.
Williams said she was unfazed by her slight wobble in the second set. “It wasn’t that frustrating,” she said. “I felt like she returned really well and I think that’s been what’s holding me back as I get frustrated. “But I’m out here and I’m fighting and I felt like it was just a minor setback and if anything it can help me know what not to do next time.”
Williams is also adjusting to the eery conditions at this year’s tournament, where games are taking place without spectators because of COVID- 19.
“It’s interesting, I mean I love the crowd here, obviously, but it’s something cool,” Williams said. “I’ve been playing so long I now play in the modern area where there’s no crowd, it’s all digital. It’s just a little more calming I think.”
Williams is chasing a record seventh US Open title at Flushing Meadows as well as a record-equalling 24th Grand Slam singles crown to tie Margaret Court.BSS/AFP