Serena Williams fought her way through to a 6-2 6-4 triumph over Russia’s Margarita Gasparyan in the second round of the U.S. Open on Thursday.
The triumph implied she proceeded with her offer for a record-approaching 24th Grand Slam title.
A prevailing Williams cruised through the principal set at Arthur Ashe Stadium in New York.
She finished off the main game with one of seven aces in the match, before breaking her unseeded rival’s serve on the subsequent game to take a mid 2-0 lead.
The 38-year-old American gave little indication of shortcoming, beside a solitary twofold issue and a trio of unforced blunders, as she polished off the set in only 35 minutes.
The unseeded Russian attracted Williams to the net and sent a forehand victor zooming by her, before compelling her into a mistake on the following point to break her serve and limited the lead 3-2.
Williams retaliated, breaking her serve, but Gasparyan refused to back down, eventually leveling the score 4-4.
Williams, a crowd favourite who this year must play without her legions of fans cheering her on, clawed her way back.
She managed to close out a lengthy 16-point game to hold her serve and retake the lead 5-4, psyching herself up shouting “Come on!” inside the empty stadium.
“It wasn’t that frustrating,” Williams said after the match.
“The second set setback will help me know what not to do next time.”
The retractable roof of the stadium was put in place after the competitors warmed up due to rain in Flushing Meadows.
The two played in almost pin-drop silence, with spectators barred from the sprawling Queens campus amid the ongoing coronavirus outbreak.
During a change-over towards the end of the contest, Williams told the chair umpire she felt like she was “sprinting” to manage her on-court towel.
It was really one of the many new health requirements of the COVID-19 era.