Serena Williams wins first match at US Open

Sports

(NewsNation) — Serena Williams won her opening match at the U.S. Open on Monday, beating her opponent in straight sets to begin what’s expected to be her final run at a 24th Grand Slam title.

The legendary tennis player announced this month she is “evolving” away from the sport to spend more time with her family and pursue business ventures after playing the game for nearly 30 years. Fans flocked to Arthur Ashe Stadium in New York to see what could have been the final singles match of her career.

But they’ll have at least one more opportunity to watch her. After defeating 80th-ranked Danka Kovinic 6-3, 6-3, Williams advanced to the second round, where she’ll play No. 2 seed Anett Kontaveit on Wednesday.

Sports Illustrated writer Mike McDaniel joined “NewsNation Rush Hour” on Monday to reflect on Williams’ career and what she brought to the game. He noted Williams in her Vogue essay did not definitively say this year’s U.S. Open would be her last tournament.

“Never say never,” McDaniel said of a potential “unretirement” by Williams. “To do what she’s doing is unbelievable.”

Williams overcame a shaky start that included double faults and missed opportunities. After going up 2-0 in the first set, she found herself down 3-2 before hitting her stride and winning four straight games to take the set.

From there, she never looked back. Her dominant service game — she had nine aces and 22 winners — would carry her through the second set, giving her at least one more victory before bowing out of the sport.

In a post-game ceremony in front of a crowd of nearly 24,000, Williams said of her future “there’s other chapters in life.”

As for if any of those chapters involve more tennis?

“I’m going to stay vague,” she said, “because you never know.”

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