NEW YORK, NY, USA - Two-time champion Venus Williams dropped just one game in a flawless first-round performance against Zheng Saisai to kick off her 2019 US Open campaign.
Former World No.1 Venus drew from her long experience at the tournament against Zheng. Having won here in back-to-back years in 2000 and 2001, Venus also extended her first-round record to a flawless 22-0, maintaining her undefeated streak at this stage in Flushing.
“I don't recall the first rounds that much anymore, but this was a good one,” Venus said in her post-match press conference.
“She's playing really well, honestly. Confident, does everything well. So it was great to be able to perform well against her. Good win today.”
Venus got out to a 5-0 start in the first set and never looked back, bringing out her vintage best to Louis Armstrong Stadium to secure the 6-1, 6-0 victory in just an hour and eight minutes minutes.
The American smothered Zheng with her high-octane attacking tennis, covering the court with easy and returning everything with interest. She bossed the rallies from the start, keeping the Zheng second serve under constant pressure. Venus was rewarded early on as she broke from 40-0 down to take a 2-0 lead, then pummeled a barrage of winners to extend the scoreline to 4-0.
Zheng, who lifted the trophy in San Jose earlier this season, finally got her name on the scoreboard with a hold to love. She put in a herculean effort in the next game to try to claw her way back - saving two set points and fighting her way to a pair of break points.
But Venus wrestled the game back, converting her fourth set point to take the marathon seventh game - the longest of the match - and claim the set.
It was one-way traffic in the second set as well for the American, who broke three times to reel off the next six games in a row. Venus’ remained unbroken during the entire match, and she struck 25 winners and 11 unforced errors to Zheng’s six and 13, respectively, en route to victory.
“I was happy with today, so I'm not going to ask for more,” Venus said, pondering anything she could have possibly improved in today’s win.
“Whether the win is easy or whether it's tough, a win is a win. Getting to the next round is about getting the win on your side and building yourself up during the tournament and patting yourself on the back for every good achievement.”
She awaits the winner of No.5 seed Elina Svitolina and American wildcard Whitney Osuigwe in the second round.
“I have never played Whitney before. Svitolina and I have played before. Probably not any surprises there,” Venus assessed. “Whitney, I don't know her game at all. I'd have to look into that.
“Regardless who I play, I have to focus on me. That will be my main objective.”