NEW YORK – In his first game in the United States. Open since last year 's defeat in a chaotic and controversial final, Serena Williams played almost perfect tennis and beat Maria Sharapova 6-1, 6-1 in a drama – free contest on Monday.
Williams has stretched his winning streak to 19 games against Sharapova and is now leading his 20-2 series.
"Every time I run into it," Williams said, "I just released some of my best tennis."
She did it well this time. It all lasted 59 minutes. Williams won twice as many points, 56-28. She saved the five breaking points she faced and she served up to 15 km / h. She broke five times.
Few players would have had a chance against Williams in the same way as his performance – and certainly not a diminished Sharapova, who is ranked only 87th after missing a good part of the season with a bad right shoulder.
"She would win the title by playing this way," said Chris Evert, 18-time world champion, at Williams.
Williams arrived at Flushing Meadows, where she won six titles, along with questions on her back, as the spasms that erupted earlier this month forced her to stop playing in the final. a focus tournament on hard ground and to retire from another.
It did not seem to be a problem against Sharapova.
"The body is good, I feel good," said Williams. "My back is much better, so I'm excited, it'll be fun."
A year ago, she was beaten by Naomi Osaka in two sets in a match for the US Open title that was transferred after a back and forth between Williams and chair referee Carlos Ramos. He warned him to have received coaching signals, which is not allowed in Grand Slam play. When she later broke a racket, he scored a point. When she quarreled with him and called him a "thief" and "liar," he pitched a game to her. The US Tennis Association decided that Ramos would not schedule a match with Serena Williams or his older sister, Venus, at this year's tournament.
Williams was as calm and cool as possible against Sharapova, rarely showing emotion with a cry of "Come on! Or raising the left fist after the night shot, a passing winner who had saved a point stop earlier in the second set.
"It was really a big point for me," said Williams. "That's the kind of player who is gaining momentum and she's starting to leave." "I was really excited to have hit that winner."
This has shaped by far the most intriguing match of Day 1 at the last Grand Slam tournament of the year.
Few athletes from all sports have been so popular in recent decades. Williams has 23 titles in singles and Sharapova five. Both have a career in Grand Slam. Both were ranked # 1.
Even though there were several other matches involving prominent players on Monday, nothing made the spectators come out the same way as Serena Williams versus Maria Sharapova.
When the lights went on, Williams turned out far more ready for prime time.
Sharapova had again lost only one night match at Arthur Ashe Stadium.
"I've had a lot of tough matches here and a lot of defeats," she told the crowd afterwards, "but this outing is worth it."
Associated Press contributed to this report.