Serena overcomes Kovinic's challenge; Halep bows out of US Open

by IANS |

New York, Aug 30 (IANS) American tennis star Serena Williams, four weeks shy of her 41st birthday and playing in her last career event, overcame Danka Kovinic of Montenegro 6-3, 6-3 to secure a place in the second round of the US Open on Tuesday (IST).

Serena will play No.2 seed Anett Kontaveit of Estonia on Wednesday.

The winner of 23 singles titles at majors, Serena has now won 107 matches in New York, and 102 of them have come in Arthur Ashe Stadium, according to wtatennis.com

Williams began tentatively, losing three of the first four points. But she smashed two aces to get even and took the opening game when a Kovinic forehand found the net. The legendary player moved remarkably compared to her stints in Toronto and Cincinnati earlier this month.

"I always feel so comfortable on this court," she said. "When I step on the court I just want to do the best I can. The crowd was crazy. It really helped pull me through," Serena said post-match.

"It's been such a hard decision (to retire). Because when you're passionate about something, love something so much it's hard to walk away. I was just like all right, now's the time. There's other chapters in life. It's going to be Serena 2.0."

Meanwhile, in the first major upset at this year's US Open, qualifier Daria Snigur of Ukraine overcame Romania's Simona Halep in three sets to reach the second round. The 20-year-old Snigur, playing only her third WTA-level match and first at a major, upset the Romanian 6-2, 0-6, 6-4.

"I'm very happy," she said. "I'm very, very, very nervous," she added. "But I tried to do my best."

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