NEW YORK, Aug 27 (Reuters) - Serena Williams took the first cautious step towards a record-equalling 24th Grand Slam title with a 6-4 6-0 first-round win over Magda Linette on Monday as an excited U.S. Open crowd welcomed the new tennis mother back to the ‘Big Apple’.
It was not the imposing performance many are used to seeing from Williams on Arthur Ashe Stadium court as the six-time champion continued to shake the rust off her game as she continued her comeback campaign after the birth of her first child.
Telling the crowd that her spirit was broken after not saying goodbye to her daughter before leaving for her match, Williams appeared distracted during an uneven opening set until she finally seized control with a break to go up 4-3.
Williams, the winner of 72 career singles titles, has the ability to sense when she has an opponent on the ropes and moved in quickly to deliver the knockout punch, breaking the 68th ranked Pole to open the second.
While her game might not have been firing on all cylinders her ruthlessness remained razor sharp as the American showed no hesitation in storming through second set before finishing off her opponent with a thundering ace. (Editing by Peter Rutherford)