Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Serena Williams toes the line in win at U.S. Open

When Williams walked into the world's biggest tennis stadium at 10:31 p.m. in New York, the applause was subdued and Williams was expressionless.

The last time she had played singles on this court, in a 2009 women's semifinal, the night had ended badly. Williams lost to Kim Clijsters and the final point was after a foot fault call went against Williams. She launched into an obscenity-filled tirade against the lineswoman who'd seen Williams' toes cross the line.

Williams did not play here last year because of a foot injury that contributed to keeping her away from tennis for nearly a year. But if the 29-year-old didn't seem outwardly enthusiastic about her late-night arrival, her tennis spoke one word: dominant.

She beat 19-year-old Serbian Bojana Jovanovski, who is ranked 54th in the world, 6-1, 6-1, in 56 minutes.

"I'm glad that one's over," Williams said. "It took a long time."

That sentence seemed to cover both being the last women's first-round singles match played and the time it has taken for Williams to get back here.

"It feels like I'm in my third round already," Williams said. "But it's OK. At least I got one and made it through."

Williams lost the first point on a forehand error but within 10 minutes she was ahead 3-0. There were moments when Williams squealed with disappointment after rare mistakes and one yelped an audible "Come on," when she blasted a winner to take a 5-1 first-set lead, but there were few smiles.

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