NEW YORK, NY, USA - Serena Williams made the start of her 18th appearance at the US Open one to remember, knocking out Magda Linette, 6-4, 6-0 in her first match in Flushing Meadows since giving birth to daughter Alexis Olympia.
"I feel pretty good," Williams told the media, during her post-match press conference. "First match of a Grand Slam is always good to get through."
"Right now I just feel like I'm on the road to getting better. I'm just going to be on that road till I get there," the 23-time Grand Slam champion continued.
Williams first won the US Open in 1999, and hasn't lost before the semifinals at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center since 2007. She looked ready to keep that streak alive on Monday night, opening the first night session of the tournament with a one hour and nine minute win over the Pole.
"It was a great first round match," Williams said. "Magda, she's such a fighter. She's a very hard worker. I've seen her at Patrick's academy a few times, so I kind of knew what to expect tonight. It was a little bit of a relief to know what to expect."
Playing with the confidence that took her to within one match of becoming the first mother to win at Wimbledon since Evonne Goolagong in 1980, the former World No.1 nabbed the only break of the opening set and never looked back, serving out the opening set and racing through the second without dropping a game.
In a command performance from Williams, she struck 23 winners to just 18 unforced errors, winning 76% of her first serve points and converting four of six break point opportunities.
For Linette, it was a solid night of nine winners, but 18 unforced errors did most of the damage as she failed to engineer a break point on the American's often indomitable serve.
"I think overall I had a little shaky start, but I got into it," Williams concluded.
Up next for the six-time US Open champion is Germany's Carina Witthoeft, who edged past American Caroline Dolehide in a second set tie-break earlier in the evening.