- Serena Williams won her first-round match at the US Open 6-3, 6-3 Monday night.
- The victory — her first at a Grand Slam in over a year — extends her career for a little bit longer.
- Williams announced her intention to retire from professional tennis following this year’s tournament.
FLUSHING MEADOWS, NEW YORK — Serena’s not done yet.
With a 6-3, 6-3 victory over World No. 80 Danka Kovinić in the first round of her final US Open, Williams earned her first win at a Grand Slam in over a year and extended her illustrious professional tennis career just a little bit longer.
“I think Serena said, ‘Not today — not today,'” Gayle King said on the court during a special ceremony following Williams’ victory.
An electric atmosphere overtook Arthur Ashe Stadium — the site where she’s won six of her Open Era-record 23 Grand Slams — from the very first game of the match. Williams — fittingly wearing a glittering ensemble encrusted with diamonds and laced with gold — had both luck and the crowd on her side.
Down 15-40, thanks to a few shots gone awry — and, surely, some early-match emotions — Williams battled hard to save Kovinić’s break, then painted the line for an ace that evened the score.
Then, another ace — this time to give Williams the advantage.
More raucous applause.
From there, both sides dug deep for a long rally. But the point broke Williams’ way when a seemingly short shot grazed the top of the net and bounced over, forcing Kovinić to charge in and smash her shot into the net.
Though it wasn’t without its bumps, much of the match went that way for Williams. An improbable backhand here and a shot just touching the line there, the greatest the sport has ever seen had the first set in hand — punctuated by back-to-back aces leading into a big serve to take it home.
With the reality of a win on the horizon, the second set flew by, and a crowd littered with former US Presidents, and Oscar winners looked on in awe as the GOAT did what she did best. Her daughter, Olympia, wearing the same braided hair adorned with white beads that Williams sported during her first US Open win, cheered from her dad’s arms as mom took over.
Williams will undoubtedly enjoy a fairy-tale farewell when the time comes. But on Monday — at the same site where she won her first of many, many Grand Slams 23 years ago — she gave the world one more Serena signature: a win.