US Open: Serena Williams makes light work of Maria Sharapova, Johanna Konta battles through to second round

Serena Williams shakes hands with Maria Sharapova after her victory in the first round of the US Open
Serena Williams shakes hands with Maria Sharapova after her victory in the first round of the US Open

Serena Williams triumphed over Maria Sharapova in a US Open first-round contest as one-sided as their 15-year rivalry.

Williams, the 23-time grand slam champion, has now won 20 of their 22 meetings following a thumping 6-1 6-1 victory.

It was the pair's first encounter since January 2016, and was all the more eagerly-anticipated after Williams pulled out of a scheduled meeting at last year's French Open through injury.

Sharapova is nowhere near the player who beat Williams in the 2004 Wimbledon final - and also won their next match the same year - but despite the scoreline she did not play at all badly.

The Russian, 32, got a healthy 73 per cent of her first serves in. One fierce cross-court winner on the run even had Williams applauding.

But Sharapova could barely lay a glove on Williams, who turns 38 this month and remains tantalisingly within touching distance of Margaret Court's record of 24 major titles.

Victory was wrapped up when a Sharapova return floated long after only 59 minutes.

Williams said: "Obviously I was going against a player who has won five grand slams so it was never going to be easy, and every practice after that was super intense because it was such a tough draw.

"She's such a good player, and you have to be super focused, so every time I come up against her I have to play my best tennis."

Williams, who has now won 19 matches in a row against Sharapova, added: "I just feel like her game really matches up well against mine.

"I always said her ball somehow lands in my strike zone. I don't know. It's just perfect for me."

Konta battles through to second round

Jo Konta in action on day one of the US Open
Jo Konta in action on day one of the US Open

Johanna Konta had some A-list backing as she battled into round two of the US Open.

Avengers star Tom Hiddleston, currently starring in Betrayal on Broadway, was in the British number one's box following a chance meeting in New York.

And after two hours the end game arrived for Russian Daria Kasatkina as Konta progressed 6-1 4-6 6-2.

"We met a few days ago, it turns out he's a big tennis fan so I invited him down and he brought some of his co-stars," revealed Konta.

"We literally just crossed paths, and I did the 'don't bother him, he's busy' thing, and he actually came over and said, 'I'm a massive fan'.

"We got chatting and he's super nice. Will I go to his show? If I get time I'd love to."

Konta roared through the first set in 23 minutes, but Kasatkina, a top-10 player not so long ago, hit back as the Briton got frustrated with a couple of umpiring calls.

The 28-year-old was fuming after a Kasatkina forehand was called out, only for the umpire to overrule and award the point to the Russian.

She reached boiling point moments later when her own forehand was called out and overruled, only for the point to be replayed.

"We differed in opinions," she added. "There was one game where he made two calls, I thought they were the same situation but he called them differently. That was basically it."

Konta regained her composure, though, and secured the crucial break to lead 4-1 in the decider before completing an impressive victory.

"It was what I anticipated it to be," said Konta. "I started well, but she was 10 in the world last year and I've lost to her the last two times we played.

"I enjoyed being out there, I enjoyed the difficulty of it."

Konta is already Britain's sole representative in the women's singles after Harriet Dart bowed out.

Londoner Dart, who came through three rounds of qualifying to reach the main draw for the first time, lost 6-3 6-1 to Romanian Ana Bogdan.

Barty and Pliskova advance, Kerber crashes out

French Open champion Ashleigh Barty, seeded second, survived a scare after dropping the first set in double-quick time against Zarina Diyas.

The Australian, opening proceedings in the Arthur Ashe Stadium, eventually hit back to win 1-6 6-3 6-2.

"I just didn't give myself a chance in that first set," said Barty. "It was sort of appalling, I probably made a set's worth of errors."

Third seed Karolina Pliskova needed a pair of tie-breaks to get past Czech qualifier Tereza Martincova in the first match on Louis Armstrong.

Angelique Kerber was a surprise casualty, the 2016 champion storming back after losing the first set to Kristina Mladenovic, but then bowing out 7-5 0-6 6-4.

Kerber, last year's Wimbledon winner, said: "I tried everything I could, and in the last 10 days I prepared as good as I can.

"This is tennis, this is sport, and we have to deal with this. I will deal with this as good as I can."

Two-time champion Venus Williams eased through with a 6-1 6-0 victory over Chinese world number 38 Saisai Zheng.

Like what you've read?
Help your friends Know It All by sharing this article to your social media.

Most Read

England celebrate Rashford's opener in Bulgaria1

Recap: Bulgaria 0-6 England

Recap England's Euro 2020 Qualifying clash with Bulgaria in our live blog with updates, highlights and more.

Ascot - set to confirm track switch2

Ascot set to make track switch

A decision to run the QIPCO Champion Stakes and two other races on the inner track at Ascot for the first time on Saturday could be made on Wednesday.

Stradivarius3

QIPCO British Champions Day preview

We've news of the five-day declarations and the view from leading trainers ahead of Saturday's QIPCO British Champions Day at Ascot.

Don't miss our tips for the Open de France4

Open de France: Joost the ticket

After a near-miss in the Italian Open, Ben Coley looks ahead to the Open de France and a fine chance for in-form Joost Luiten to strike.

Check out the latest daily racing preview5

Tuesday's racing preview

Anita Chambers is keen on the chances of Last Surprise at Leicester on Tuesday - read her full preview and tips here.

Most Read

England celebrate Rashford's opener in Bulgaria1

Recap: Bulgaria 0-6 England

Recap England's Euro 2020 Qualifying clash with Bulgaria in our live blog with updates, highlights and more.

Ascot - set to confirm track switch2

Ascot set to make track switch

A decision to run the QIPCO Champion Stakes and two other races on the inner track at Ascot for the first time on Saturday could be made on Wednesday.

Stradivarius3

QIPCO British Champions Day preview

We've news of the five-day declarations and the view from leading trainers ahead of Saturday's QIPCO British Champions Day at Ascot.

Don't miss our tips for the Open de France4

Open de France: Joost the ticket

After a near-miss in the Italian Open, Ben Coley looks ahead to the Open de France and a fine chance for in-form Joost Luiten to strike.

Check out the latest daily racing preview5

Tuesday's racing preview

Anita Chambers is keen on the chances of Last Surprise at Leicester on Tuesday - read her full preview and tips here.

Racing Tips

Sporting Life's NAP of the day

Daily Nap: We're Not Worthy!

David Ord heads to Hereford for Sporting Life Daily Nap on Tuesday with Paul Nicholls fancied to maintain his excellent start to the new jumps season.

Check out the latest daily racing preview

Tuesday's racing preview

Anita Chambers is keen on the chances of Last Surprise at Leicester on Tuesday - read her full preview and tips here.

Check out Monday's racing preview

Monday's racing preview

Keith Hamer makes Tarboosh his best bet of the day at Musselburgh on Monday - he has a selection for every race in the UK and Ireland.

Next Race Off

22:36 Zia Park
11
(11)
Whatakiss
J: Ry Eikleberry
10
(10)
R H Express
J: Francisco Arrieta
3
(3)
Cherry Way
J: Luis Negron

Football Tips

Our best bets for Tuesday's Euro 2020 Qualifying action

Euro 2020: Tuesday's preview & tips

The latest international break comes to an end on Tuesday and Tom Carnduff picks out his best bets - all at prices of odds-against.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette celebrate a goal for Arsenal in Valencia

Sporting Life Tipping Record

A look at how the Sporting Life recommended bets have performed in October 2019.

All of Sporting Life's current best bets across a range of sports

Our best bets

Check out Sporting Life's best bets across racing, football and more.