Serena Williams continued her career-long dominance of Maria Sharapova on Monday with an emphatic win on the opening night of the 2019 US Open.
Williams defeated Sharapova 6-1, 6-1 in the marquee matchup of the first day of play at Flushing Meadows.
Williams at Her Best vs. Sharapova
While the first set started competitively, with both women holding serve to start the match, it was all Serena after that, showing that the two simply aren’t on the same level at this point in their careers.
The win brought Williams’ career record against Sharapova to 20-2 all-time.
“Every time I come up against her, I just bring out some of my best tennis,” Williams said after the match. “The body’s good. I feel good. My back’s a lot better. So I’m excited. This is going to be fun.”
Williams was followed on Arthur Ashe stadium by fellow veteran Roger Federer, who had a slightly tougher time against qualifier Sumit Nagal.
The 22-year-old from India stunned the 20-time Grand Slam winner by coming from behind to win the first set. But Federer recovered, easily winning the next two sets on route to a 4-6, 6-1, 6-2, 6-4 victory.
While the early struggles may have been concerning for some players, they seem par for the course for Federer, who lost his first set at Wimbledon this year before coming within one point of winning the tournament.
“Maybe it’s not a bad thing to go through a match like this,” Federer said after the win.
Americans Opelka, Brooksby Earn First US Open Wins
While there weren’t many major upsets on the first day of the US Open, both the men’s and women’s tournaments lost notable seeded players.
American Reilly Opelka won his debut match in the main draw of the US Open, as the 21-year-old defeated No. 11 seed Fabio Fognini 6-3, 6-4, 6-7 (6-8), 6-3. Despite his high ranking, Fognini came in as a slight underdog, as the Italian had been nursing an ankle injury.
Meanwhile, 2016 US Open champion and No. 14 seed Angelique Kerber bowed out in the first round on the women’s side of the draw, as Kristina Mladenovic eliminated her 7-5, 0-6, 6-4.
There was nearly a much larger upset in the women’s draw. French Open champion and No. 2 seed Ashleigh Barty fell far behind 80th ranked Zarina Diyas before coming back to survive 1-6, 6-3, 6-2 and advance to the second round.
“I was happy with the way I was able to fight through after a pretty awful start,” Barty said after the match. “Not the perfect start. But it is what it is.”
One of the biggest stories of Day 1 was 18-year-old American Jenson Brooksby’s victory over Tomas Berdych. Brooksby won 6-1, 2-6, 6-4, 6-4 over the former Wimbledon finalist, and is in the midst of deciding whether to go pro this year, or forego his prize money and attend Baylor on a tennis scholarship.
“It gets tougher the more I win here,” Brooksby said, via The New York Post.
First round action continues on Tuesday, with several top players playing their first matches of the tournament. That includes women’s No. 1 seed Naomi Osaka, who is a -440 favorite over Anna Blinkova (+340) according to FanDuel Sportsbook, Rafael Nadal (-3500), who takes on Australian John Millman (+1800), and Wimbledon champion Simona Halep (-2300), who is expected to get past American qualifier Nicole Gibbs (+1400).