The sour memories Serena Williams carried from her previous match at Arthur Ashe Stadium — the U.S. Open final loss to Naomi Osaka in September that devolved into a controversial and confusing spectacle — weren’t reflected in her strong performance Monday.
But she made it clear she can’t be counted out here, and that she hasn’t forgotten the infamous occasion that polarized the tennis world.
Back on the showcase court at the Billie Jean King Tennis Center for her first match at this year’s U.S. Open, Williams was intense and businesslike in a 6-1, 6-1 thrashing of Maria Sharapova. Williams took 59 minutes to defeat Sharapova for the 19th time in a row, a streak that excludes a walkover in Sharapova’s favor in the fourth round of the 2018 French Open.
“I just feel like her game really matches up well against mine,” Williams said after improving her record against Sharapova to 20-2. “I always said her ball somehow lands in my strike zone. I don’t know. It’s just perfect for me.”
Williams, seeded eighth, wisely controlled her emotions as well as she controlled the play against the unseeded Sharapova. Trying again for a record-tying 24th Grand Slam event singles championship, she was efficient and calm, a distinct contrast to her unbridled anger in unleashing a tirade at chair umpire Carlos Ramos in last year’s final because of what she considered unfair and sexist calls against her. Asked Monday for her reaction to U.S. Tennis Association officials deciding Ramos won’t officiate her matches this year she replied, “I don’t know who that is.”
Source: LA Times