Serena wins first set 6-3 vs Kovinic | US Open updates
NEW YORK (AP) — The Latest on the U.S. Open tennis tournament (all times local):
Serena Williams is halfway to starting her U.S. Open with a victory after taking the first set 6-3 against Danka Kovinic.
Williams won the first two games, dropped the next three, and then regained her grip before closing it out in 55 minutes.
Williams has said she is preparing to end her tennis career, but a victory would send her into a second-round match against No. 2 seed Anett Kontaveit of Estonia.
Serena Williams is back on the court she has dominated like none other — perhaps for the last time.
The 23-time Grand Slam singles champion has started her first-round match against Danka Kovinic of Montenegro. Williams has said she is preparing to end her tennis career, which could come after this tournament she has won six times.
With Spike Lee on the court for the coin toss and Queen Latifah narrating a tribute video, there was far more hype than the usual first-day match. Williams emerged from the locker room wearing a glittery jacket and long skirt after being introduced as the greatest of all time.
Williams then held serve to open the match, hitting consecutive aces after she faced two break points.
Serena Williams has wrapped up her final practice before the U.S. Open after a half-hour.
As she walked along the courts, back toward Arthur Ashe Stadium, fans shouted her name, “Serenaaaaa!” She lifted her arm to wave her racket in acknowledgement.
She then took a drink from a water bottle and kept walking, lips pursed, toward the stadium for what could be the last singles match of her prolific career.
Serena Williams has started a warmup session on a practice court just outside Arthur Ashe Stadium before her first-round match at the U.S. Open.
Williams was greeted by screams from fans who filled the stands at the practice area as she took the short walk from Ashe about 45 minutes before she is due to face Danka Kovinic.
Before grabbing her racket, Williams walked over to greet her good friend, former tennis player Caroline Wozniacki, and Wozniacki’s husband, former NBA player David Lee, with hugs.
Williams began trading shots from the baseline with her hitting partner as coach Eric Hechtman and advisor Rennae Stubbs looked on.
Ukrainian Daria Snigur’s first career win on the WTA Tour was a big one.
The 20-year-old stunned No. 7 seed Simona Halep 6-2, 0-6, 6-4 in the first round of the U.S. Open, then struggled through tears to explain what the victory meant to her family and her country during its war with Russia.
Snigur wore a pin in the colors of Ukraine’s flag on her chest and put her hands around it after the final point.
Snigur took part last week in the “Tennis Plays for Peace Exhibition” in Louis Armstrong Stadium to raise money to aid Ukraine, and she said that might have helped her nerves when she returned to the same court Monday.
Halep had won 19 of her last 22 matches and recently returned to the top 10, but the two-time Grand Slam champion has struggled at the U.S. Open throughout her career.
Wu Yibing has become the first Chinese man to win a U.S. Open match in the professional era.
Wu upset No. 31 seed Nikoloz Basilashvili 6-3, 6-4, 6-0. He had played his way into the field through the qualifying tournament, joining countryman and fellow qualifier Zhang Zhizhen as the first Chinese men in the U.S. Open main draw since the open era began in 1968.
Wu won the 2017 U.S. Open boys singles and doubles titles.
Zhang lost to Tim van Rijthoven in five sets.
Andy Murray has reached the second round of the U.S. Open with one of the first upsets of the tournament.
Murray beat No. 24 seed Francisco Cerundolo of Argentina 7-5, 6-3, 6-3. Murray won the first of his three Grand Slam titles 10 years ago in Flushing Meadows.
No. 16 seed Roberto Bautista Agut of Spain was another seeded loser, beat in straight sets by American J.J. Wolf.
Third-seeded Maria Sakkari and No. 17 Caroline Garcia were among the early winners on the women’s side.
A small group of demonstrators chanting “Novak! Novak!” outside the entrance of the U.S. Open urged an end of the vaccine travel mandate that kept Novak Djokovic from competing in this year’s tournament.
Djokovic, who is from Serbia, was not able to travel to the U.S. because he is not vaccinated against COVID-19. He was able to compete during the previous two U.S. Opens held during the pandemic, but the current vaccine requirement began last Nov. 8.
Members of Families are Essential and Children’s Health Defense & Teachers for Choice were among the demonstrators, standing behind signs that read “End The Travel Mandate Now!”
With Serena Williams on the schedule at night, the U.S. Open has begun with far more buzz than usual for Day 1.
Play has started at the final Grand Slam of the year, with defending champion Daniil Medvedev among the players who will be in early action Monday.
Medvedev, who won his first Grand Slam title last year in Flushing Meadows, plays the lead match in Arthur Ashe Stadium against American Stefan Kozlov at noon.
Past U.S. Open champion Andy Murray is facing No. 24 seed Francisco Cerundolo of Argentina in one of the matches that has begun.
Williams will begin the night session in Ashe for the start of what could be the final tournament of her career. The 23-time Grand Slam singles champion faces Danka Kovinic.
Dominic Thiem, the 2020 champion who missed the tournament last year, also is on the schedule, along with past U.S. Open champions Stan Wawrinka and Bianca Andreescu.
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