NEW YORK (Reuters) – Serena Williams says she’s not ready to retire, advancing to the week 6-3-6 1-3 victory over Danka Kovinic in the second round of the US Open.
Victory over No. 80 Covinic, only her second this year, will be a confidence boost for Williams, But the road to a 24th Grand Slam record is now dangerous.
Waiting for the wings was Estonian second seed Annette Kontaveit, who handily beat Jacqueline Christian 6-3 6-0.
The 40-year-old American’s performance was far from classic, but it didn’t matter a crowded Arthur Ashe Stadium as Williams’ fighting spirit stayed sharp, even with her serve and ground hits Ball no.
Even if Williams is far from her best, the odds always seem to be tied with 27-year-old from Montenegro.
Entering her 21st U.S. Open, Williams has never lost in the first round, and her 106th match was her victory over Covinic at Flushing Meadows.
While Kovinic has been enjoying the best Grand Slam season of her career, reaching the third round of the Australian and French Opens, she has not won since the French Open had a game.
But as the game started, Williams showed signs of nervousness and kept fouling as Covinic led 3-2. Raised her game when she needed to, swept the first set in her next four games.
Williams, now in power, wouldn’t let it slip in the second set, breaking serve 3-2, dancing with joy as Covinic’s The return hit the net.
(Reporting by Steve Keating in New York; Editing by Christian Schmollinger)