• Serena advances with ease at US Open


    Serena Williams AFP PHOTO

    NEW YORK: Defending champion Serena Williams cruised into the second round of the US Open on Monday (Tuesday in Manila) with a 6-0, 6-1 victory over Italy’s Francesca Schiavone at Arthur Ashe Stadium.

    World No. 1 Williams, seeking her 17th Grand Slam title and fifth US Open crown, needed only 60 minutes to win for the sixth time in eight matches against the 2010 French Open champion.

    “I’m really excited,” Williams said. “I knew playing a former Grand Slam champion the first round was a tough draw so I just tried to be super serious.”

    Williams, who finished off the match only moments before rain showers began to fall that would halt play for the rest of the night, next faces Kazakhstan’s Galina Voskoboeva. who ousted Romanian Monica Niculescu 6-4, 6-3.

    Williams, who at 31 would become the oldest women’s champion in US Open history if she takes the title, improved to 61-4 on the year as she chases a ninth crown in 2013, which would be a record one-season trophy haul for the US sensation.

    But she said that she knows even her epic form cannot avoid Father Time forever.

    “In this sport you never know what can happen,” Williams said. “That’s why you have to enjoy every moment, enjoy every win.”

    In the second set, Schiavone asked a ballboy for a hug as she was trying to avoid being blanked in the match. Williams shrugged off the moment, intent on keeping her concentration.

    “I thought, ‘I’ve just got to stay focused and just do what I can.’ I just wanted to stay really focused,” Williams said. “When you see you have to go against a former Grand Slam champion, it’s not very easy to see your name on the draw like that.”

    Williams took the first set in just 23 minutes, allowing only six points against her, and surrendered only the fifth game in the second set when Schiavone held serve.

    Schiavone, 33, won only 23 total points while committing 18 unforced errors and was brutally frank when asked what she thought when she saw the US Open draw with her name opposite the overwhelming favorite.

    “Oh shit,” Schiavone said. “But it’s normal. When you are there, you have the same. She has two legs. I have two legs. Two arms. We are the same. We are human. One has to win. She was much, much better today than me.

    “She is the best athlete ever had in the world. We are speaking about something that is really unique.”



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