Serena Williams made the perfect return to the US Open after last year’s controversial final by thrashing her long-time rival Maria Sharapova. Williams, 37, won 6-1 6-1 in a first-round meeting which ended up lasting just 59 minutes. Twelve months ago, Williams called the umpire “a cheat” and “a liar” during her loss to Naomi Osaka.
Eighth seed Williams showed no signs of the back spasms that forced her to retire in tears from the Toronto final two weeks ago and instead showcased some of her best on-court movement since returning from maternity leave in 2018.
“I just feel like her game really matches up well against mine,” said Williams, who improved to 20-2 in career meetings with the Russian. “I always said her ball somehow lands in my strike zone. I don’t know. It’s just perfect for me.”
The rivals, who have had a frosty relationship that dates back to 2004 when Sharapova earned her breakout win against Williams in that year’s Wimbledon final, came out firing right from the start. Sharapova did her best to trade big shots with Williams but it quickly became apparent she simply did not have the same high gear she used to collect five Grand Slam titles.
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