Tennis

Serena Williams puts US Open rivals on notice with Sharapova stroll

Serena Williams delivered one of her most complete performances since returning to the game after the birth of her daughter to rout a helpless Maria Sharapova in the first round of the US Open yesterday morning (Singapore time).

The ruthless American took 59 minutes to defeat Sharapova 6-1, 6-1 and notch her 19th consecutive win over the Russian.

"Whenever I play her, I bring out some of my best tennis," said Williams, who has her sights set on a record-tying 24th Grand Slam title.

"She's such a good player. When you play her, you have to be super focused."

The 37-year-old Williams, who next plays 121st-ranked US wildcard Caty McNally, blasted five aces and 16 winners while Sharapova made 20 unforced errors in the loss at the Arthur Ashe Stadium.

The 32-year-old Russian said she remains confident in her ability to compete with the best despite yesterday's crushing defeat.

"Bottom line is I believe in my ability," said Sharapova, who has slipped to 87th in the world rankings after another season marred by injury.

"You can write me off. There are many who can write me off, especially after going down 6-1, 6-1 in the first round of the US Open. As long as it's not the person that's inside of you, you'll be OK." - AFP, REUTERS

Tennis