2019 U.S. Open: Serena Williams Beats Maria Sharapova


How to watch: ESPN2; streaming on ESPN+ and ESPN3, 11 a.m.

How to get there: Take the 7 subway line or the Long Island Rail Road to Mets-Willets Point.

Monday’s scores: Men | Women

Second set: Williams wins, 6-1

Serena Williams closed out a quick and comfortable 6-1, 6-1 win over Maria Sharapova after just 59 minutes. Williams hit 16 winners to Sharapova’s six to beat her longtime rival for the 19th consecutive time.

But this was not the most lopsided win in the stretch: Williams won, 6-0, 6-1, in the 2012 Olympics gold medal match, played at Wimbledon.

In a postmatch interview, Williams said she had ratcheted up her preparations once she found out her draw. “Every practice after that was super intense and super focused,” Williams said.

In her final remark to the crowd, Williams seemed to allude to last year’s controversy-ridden final.

“I’ve had a lot of tough matches and a lot of tough losses,” Williams said, “but coming out tonight makes it all worthwhile.”

Williams and Sharapova had the finals of all the other three Grand Slam tournaments, but they have never faced each other at the U.S. Open until Monday.

Second Set: Williams Leads, 4-1

Maria Sharapova earned her first break points of the match with Williams serving at 2-1, 15-40 in the second set. Williams saved both, the second with a backhand passing-shot winner. She won the next point with a forehand winner that she punctuated with a shout of “Come on,” audibly demonstrating her intensity in this always fierce matchup.

Williams held for 3-1 on a Sharapova forehand error, then broke Sharapova swiftly in the next game, winning a 12-shot rally of power shots.

She then calmly walked to her chair with a commanding 6-1, 4-1 lead.

First set: Williams wins, 6-1

Maria Sharapova played well in the second and third games of the match, but from there Serena Williams dominated to take the set, 6-1. She won 12 of the final 13 points.

Williams, who rarely lets Sharapova see anything less than her best, hit nine winners and only three unforced errors.

Williams converted her first set point with luck she hardly needed, as her final forehand clipped the net cord and plopped gently over onto Sharapova’s side.

First Set: Williams leads, 4-1

After a competitive first three games, Serena Williams established an early lead over Maria Sharapova, going up by 4-1 in the first set of their first-round blockbuster.

Sharapova, who has lost 18 straight matches against Williams and would seem to have never been a bigger underdog against her, is playing freely, taking aggressive cuts at her returns. When Williams locks into rallies, however, she has proved the stronger, steadier player. Sharapova already has seven unforced errors, compared to three by Williams.

Williams, often eager to make fashion statements at the Open, is wearing a long-sleeved, thigh-length black bodysuit.

The winner of the match between Williams and Sharapova will face the young American Caty McNally. McNally, 17, beat Timea Bacsinszky, 6-4, 6-1.

Reilly Opelka, a big-serving 6-foot-11 American making his U.S. Open debut, knocked out 11th-seeded Fabio Fognini, 6-3, 6-4, 6-7 (6), 6-3.

The past U.S. Open champions Novak Djokovic and Venus Williams moved on with ease. Djokovic, the top seed on the men’s side, rolled past Roberto Carballés Baena, 6-4, 6-1, 6-4.

Venus Williams, who won the Open in 2000 and 2001, was even more impressive, dropping just one game in a 6-1, 6-0 rout of Zheng Saisai, who won the tournament in San Jose, Calif., this month.

“I love, love, love my job,” an ebullient Williams said in her on-court interview, adding that she was looking forward to watching her sister Serena play later.

Serena will face Maria Sharapova in three hours in the blockbuster match of the first round.

Early Monday, as U.S. Open matches began, a corner of the tennis world paused to honor one of its greatest champions.

Her name was Althea Gibson. She grew up in Harlem and in 1950 became the first African-American to play the U.S. National Championships, the precursor to the Open. She was the first black player to be ranked No. 1 in the world, and to win a Grand Slam title, at the 1956 French Championships. She also won the U.S. Championships and Wimbledon twice.

To honor her, the United States Tennis Association commissioned a sculpture, which was unveiled Monday near Arthur Ashe Stadium.

The 12-foot structure, by Eric Goulder, consists of six granite blocks, representing the evolving chapters of history that culminated in Gibson’s hard-fought victories. A likeness of the young Gibson’s head emerges from one of the blocks while another one is inscribed with a quotation from her autobiography: “I hope that I have accomplished just one thing; that I have been a credit to tennis and my country.”

The statue is only the second honoring a tennis champion to be erected at the tennis center; the other is of Ashe. Gibson’s achievements have been somewhat overlooked by history in part because she played before the Open era, which began in 1968.

“It’s simple. She’s the first African-American to break the color barrier in our sport,” said Katrina Adams, the former president of the U.S.T.A. and the first African-American to hold the position. “By doing so, she made it possible for every person of color after her to have a chance to achieve their goals in the sport. This is a tribute that’s long overdue — period.”

Visitors to the tennis center can download information and an augmented reality experience about Gibson to their smartphones near the statue through the U.S. Open app.

Gibson died in 2003. Monday’s event drew a crowd of about 50 Gibson supporters including her former doubles partner, Angela Buxton; Billie Jean King; Zina Garrison, who was a student of Gibson’s; Fran Grey, the executor of her estate; and a film producers interested in making a film about Gibson.

Buxton, Gibson’s closest friend in tennis, was not a fan of the likeness of Gibson, but said the important thing was that people were remembering and celebrating Gibson.

Also attending was a group of 28 students of One Love, an organization dedicated to restoring the home of a doctor who was one of Gibson’s prime mentors in Wilmington. It was a bundle of 2017 letters from the girls that prompted Adams to push the U.S.T.A. board to approve a statue for which she and King had lobbied for years.

“What she showed me is that no matter what your gender or the color of your skin, you can do whatever you want,” Kayla Edwards, 14, of Wilmington said, “even if they tell you, you can’t.” — SALLY H. JACOBS

On an island far from this long one, Andy Murray notched his first singles win in a year at the Rafa Nadal Open, an ATP Challenger event in Majorca.

The competition was considerably below U.S. Open standards: Murray defeated the unranked 17-year-old Imran Sibille of France, 6-0, 6-1, in 42 minutes. Sibille has $150 in career prize money; Murray, a three-time Grand Slam champion, has more than $62 million.

Seeking more match play but not yet feeling ready for best-of-five-sets competition, Murray decided to go down to the Challenger level after losing in the first round of ATP events in Cincinnati and Winston-Salem, N.C., this month.

Murray’s next match will be tougher, against 116th-ranked Norbert Gombos, who lost in qualifying at the U.S. Open last week.

Janko Tipsarevic, who announced before the U.S. Open that he will end his career at the end of the season, lost to the American Denis Kudla, 3-6, 6-1, 7-6 (5), 6-1. Tipsarevic, 35, was a U.S. Open quarterfinalist, in 2011 and 2012. He reached a career-high ranking of No. 8 in 2012.

“It has been a great 16 years,” Tipsarevic wrote on Instagram last week. “After a lot of soul searching and thinking what is important to me in this stage of my life and what does make me happy, I have decided to retire from professional tennis.”

Tipsarevic plans to end his career at the Davis Cup event in November in Madrid. He was on the Serbian team that won the Cup in 2010. Tipsarevic owns an academy that bears his name in Belgrade.

Kudla will next face another Serb, the 27th-seeded Dusan Lajovic. If he wins that match, he could face a third Serb: the top-seeded Novak Djokovic. If he wins that, the fourth round offers a possibility of a fourth consecutive Serbian showdown, if either Miomir Kecmanovic or Laslo Djere advance to that stage.

The first match on Ashe Stadium produced the first major upset scare: Second-seeded Ashleigh Barty recovered from losing the first set to win, 1-6, 6-3, 6-2, against 80th-ranked Zarina Diyas of Kazakhstan.

Diyas won the first set in just 28 minutes, hitting one winner but benefiting from Barty spraying 19 unforced errors against just five winners.

Barty had a positive winners-to-unforced-errors differential in the next two sets. She will next face the winner of the match between Lauren Davis and Johanna Larsson.

Barty won the French Open and Miami Open this year, which helped vault her into the top 10 and then the No. 1 ranking. She rose to No. 1 in June after winning her third title, in Birmingham, England. As the top seed at Wimbledon, she lost in the fourth round to Alison Riske of Pittsburgh. She has since been replaced at No. 1 by Naomi Osaka.



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