NEW YORK, Sept 1 (Reuters) - Serena Williams took her first step toward a record-equaling 24th Grand Slam title on Tuesday, defeating Kristie Ahn 7-5 6-2 in the first round of the U.S. Open.
Williams got off to a slow start, showing signs of nervousness early in the first set, but kicked her game into high gear during in the second, firing off 13 aces and 28 winners during the match and harnessing her powerful return to keep her opponent on the run.
A final serve forced Ahn into an error, handing Williams her 102nd U.S. Open match victory, as she scored her first straight-sets win since the sport was put on a coronavirus hiatus.
“I was really happy with how I just fought for every point,” Williams said in an on-court interview after the match.
She had to regain her focus, she said, and “just be Serena and close it out.” (Reporting by Amy Tennery; Editing by Sam Holmes)
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