Serena Williams took her first step toward history on Tuesday, beating her first-round opponent in straight sets at the U.S. Open.
Williams, the No. 1 player in the world, handily defeated Russia’s Ekaterina Makarova, 6-3, 6-3 — the first step on her way to an Open era record 23rd career major title.
“I got off to a fast start because I knew she was a really tough opponent and I didn’t want to start out slow,” Williams said after the match. “I haven’t been able play much since Wimbledon, but I was just happy that I was able to make it out here to the Open, so everyday I’ll just see how it goes.”
The 34-year-old took home her seventh Wimbledon singles title in July, but is coming off a third-round loss at the 2016 Rio Olympics.
As a result of a shoulder injury and her early exit in Rio, Williams had played just three matches since Wimbledon entering Tuesday.
“Usually I prefer to play more coming into the final Grand Slam of the year, but there is nothing we can do about it,” Williams said Friday. “You just have to make the best of every single opportunity. That’s all I can do now.”
Her shoulder didn’t seem to bother her much on Tuesday.
Williams lost to Makarova in straight sets in the fourth round of the 2014 Australian Open, but was in control from start to finish this time around.
Should she win the U.S. Open, Williams would pass Steffi Graf for the most career Grand Slam wins in the Open era. Australian Margaret Court holds the overall record with 24 major wins.
Source: CBS Sports Headlines / U.S. Open results: Serena Williams begins quest for record with first-round victory