US Open 2020: Serena Williams powers past Ahn in pursuit of 24th slam

By Sports Desk September 01, 2020

Serena Williams started her latest bid for a 24th grand slam crown with a hard-fought win over Kristie Ahn in the opening round of the US Open.

Former world number one Williams has been stuck on 23 slam titles since winning the 2017 Australian Open, losing four major finals since that last success at Melbourne Park.

But in pursuit of equalling Margaret Court's record, six-time US Open champion and third seed Williams made a winning start in New York, where the American superstar overcame countrywoman Ahn 7-5 6-3 on Arthur Ashe Stadium.

Williams will next face Margarita Gasparyan for a spot in the third round after breaking the record for most singles wins (102) in US Open history.

In a slam like no other, played behind closed doors at Flushing Meadows and with strict measures amid the coronavirus pandemic, Williams – in her longest drought without winning a slam since 1999 – found herself in early trouble on Tuesday.

World number 96 Ahn opened up a 2-0 lead in the opening set, buoyed by Williams' struggles at the Western & Southern Open, where the 38-year-old capitulated against Maria Sakkari in the last 16.

Williams, though, fought back to level the set and fended off a break point in the ninth game to push ahead 5-4.

Working Williams around the court, Ahn refused to go away and hit some big shots but her record-seeking opponent stood tall when it mattered most, using her experience to break to 15 in the 12th game to close out a challenging opener.

Just like the first set, Ahn built a 2-0 cushion after breaking in the opening game but that is as good as it got for the 28-year-old, who was powerless to stop Williams reeling off five successive games and six of the last seven en route to the second round.

 

STATISTICAL BREAKDOWN  

Williams [3] bt Ahn 7-5 6-3

WINNERS/UNFORCED ERRORS   

Williams – 28/24
Ahn – 12/24

ACES/DOUBLE FAULTS   

Williams – 13/3
Ahn – 2/6

BREAK POINTS WON    

Williams – 4/6
Ahn – 2/3

FIRST SERVE PERCENTAGE   

Williams – 62
Ahn – 57

PERCENTAGE OF POINTS WON ON FIRST/SECOND SERVE   

Williams – 85/38
Ahn – 56/50

TOTAL POINTS   

Williams – 70
Ahn – 53

Related items

  • Australian Open will go ahead as planned, insists tournament chief Tiley Australian Open will go ahead as planned, insists tournament chief Tiley

    The Australian Open will go ahead as scheduled despite 47 players being forced into hard lockdown amid positive COVID-19 cases, according to Tennis Australia's CEO Craig Tiley.

    The tournament was plunged into a crisis on Saturday when two positive cases were detected on two charter flights carrying players into Melbourne.

    Tournament officials said two passengers on a flight from Los Angeles that arrived on Friday morning had tested positive, along with one passenger who travelled in from Abu Dhabi.

    None of those who tested positive were said to be players, although one was described as a "participant", which may mean a member of a player's entourage.

    Australia's Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) said those aboard the flights were considered 'close contacts' of those with the virus, and that means they will be confined to their hotel bedrooms for the next two weeks.

    Isolating players are unable to leave their hotel rooms for 14 days until they are medically cleared, but Tiley insists there are no plans to postpone the tournament. 

    "It's not something we wanted to happen," he told The Today Show. "We were hoping every flight would be okay. We're in this situation, we have to deal with it.

    "The Australian Open is going ahead and we'll continue to do the best we can possibly do to ensure those players, who are not in a great position, find it somewhat acceptable.

    "We're planning on February 8, we do have that buffer time in there. We're looking forward to welcoming fans to the Australian Open.

    "Ticket sales have been going well, we've got two weeks of great tennis and our intention is to continue with those dates."

    The Australian Open has pulled out all the stops in an effort to get the grand slam on, and that has meant all players have had to arrive early and go into quarantine, although most will be allowed to spend five hours outside their hotel rooms each day, to allow for practice and gym work.

    Such limited liberties will not be afforded to those hit by the news of the positive tests on their flights.

  • Australian Open stars hit by hard lockdown blow after COVID positives on two flights Australian Open stars hit by hard lockdown blow after COVID positives on two flights

    The Australian Open was plunged into a crisis on Saturday as positive COVID-19 cases were detected on two charter flights into Melbourne, forcing 47 players into hard lockdown for a fortnight.

    Tournament officials said two passengers on a flight from Los Angeles that arrived on Friday morning had tested positive, along with one passenger who travelled in from Abu Dhabi.

    None of those who tested positive were said to be players, although one was described as a "participant", which may mean a member of a player's entourage.

    About 1,200 players and staff are arriving in Melbourne ahead of the delayed Australian Open, which is due to get under way on February 8.

    They are travelling on sparsely populated aeroplanes to allow for social distancing, with 79 people, including 24 players, aboard the flight from Los Angeles and 64 people, including 23 players, arriving from Abu Dhabi. It was reported that players affected included recent grand slam champions.

    A statement from the Australian Open said the players "will not be able to leave their hotel room for 14 days and until they are medically cleared. They will not be eligible to practise."

    Australia's Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) said those aboard the flights were considered 'close contacts' of those with the virus, and that means they will be confined to their hotel bedrooms for the next two weeks.

    The Australian Open has pulled out all the stops in an effort to get the grand slam on, and that has meant all players have had to arrive early and go into quarantine, although most will be allowed to spend five hours outside their hotel rooms each day, to allow for practice and gym work.

    Such limited liberties will not be afforded to those hit by the news of the positive tests on their flights.

    French player Alize Cornet questioned why such steps were necessary, writing on Twitter: "Soon, half of the players from the AO will actually have to isolate. Weeks and weeks of practice and hard work going to waste for one person positive to Covid in a 3/4 empty plane. Sorry but this is insane."

    The 30-year-old world number 53 added: "I just think that these measures are not made to hold an international tennis event."

    Cornet, who said she was not on an affected flight, believed there were meant to be measures in place to avoid wholesale lockdown in the case of positive tests.

    She said: "We've been told that the plane would be separated by section of 10 people and that if one person of your section was positive, then you had to isolate. Not that the whole plane had to."

    Victoria on Saturday recorded its 10th consecutive day with no locally acquired cases of coronavirus.

  • Australian Open players forced into quarantine after two coronavirus cases Australian Open players forced into quarantine after two coronavirus cases

    A group of Australian Open players and staff will quarantine for two weeks after two people on their flight to Melbourne tested positive for coronavirus.

    About 1,200 players and staff are arriving in Melbourne ahead of the delayed Australian Open starting on February 8.

    But one flight, from Los Angeles which landed on Friday, has led to two positive COVID-19 tests, a letter shared by players Pablo Cuevas and Santiago Gonzalez said.

    "Unfortunately, we have been informed by the health authorities that two people on your flight QR7493 from LAX that arrived at 5.15am on Friday 15 January have returned positive COVID-19 PCR tests on arrival in Melbourne," part of the letter read.

    "The chief health officer has reviewed the flight and has determined that everyone on board needs to isolate and will be confined to their rooms for the 14 day quarantine period."

    The two positive tests were reportedly a crew member and a participant who is not a player.

    Players were due to be allowed to train for five hours per day, but those on that flight will now quarantine for two weeks.

    Victoria on Saturday recorded its 10th consecutive day with no locally acquired cases of coronavirus.

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.