Serena Williams emphatically wins U.S. Open first round match - NBC Sports

Serena Williams emphatically wins U.S. Open first round match
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August 26, 2013, 9:45 pm

NEW YORK (AP) - Serena Williams was so dominant in the first round of the U.S. Open, her opponent really needed a hug.

So midway through the second set of defending champion Williams' 6-0, 6-1 victory Monday night, Francesca Schiavone wandered behind the baseline, found a ball boy and enveloped him in a full-fledged embrace.

It was that kind of evening for Schiavone, an often-demonstrative player who is certainly no pushover: She won the 2010 French Open, and was the runner-up at that Grand Slam tournament a year later. She's been ranked as high as No. 4 but is 54th this week.

"I knew playing a former Grand Slam champion in the first round was a really, really tough draw," Williams said, "so I tried to be super serious."

All told, the match only took an hour. And it ended right in time, as far as Williams was concerned, because a light rain began to fall just at the conclusion in Arthur Ashe Stadium.

The No. 1-ranked and No. 1-seeded Williams was nearly perfect, making only eight unforced errors, compiling a 13-3 edge in winners, hitting serves faster than 115 mph, and taking the first 10 games.

When Schiavone finally got on the board more than 50 minutes into the match, holding serve to win her first game with a volley winner, she swung her right fist in a celebratory roundhouse punch and shouted. Her face then broke into a wide smile while she strutted to the sideline, and she tossed her racket toward her changeover chair.

Earlier, with the outcome already in no doubt at 6-0, 2-0, Schiavone found herself facing yet another break point. She made her way to a ball boy, rested her head on his right shoulder, and squeezed him tight. Moments later, with Williams having wrapped up the break, Schiavone went to sit down in her seat, put her palms in the air and shrugged, as if to say, "What can I possibly do to against her tonight?"

Williams is seeking her fifth U.S. Open championship, and 17th Grand Slam title overall. She improved to 61-4 in 2013 and has won eight tournaments.

Earlier in the day, on the same court, Williams' older sister Venus won her first-round match, 6-1, 6-2 against 12th-seeded Kirsten Flipkens of Belgium.

"I haven't had a lot of time to talk to her, but I was really happy she did well," Serena said about Venus. "She's really inspiring to me."

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