Tennis

Serena Williams stays on course for Grand Slam achievement

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Serena Williams remains on course to clinch a historic calendar grand slam after the American breezed past Russian Vitalia Diatchenko in the US Open first round.

Williams won eight consecutive games in just 30 minutes under the lights of Arthur Ashe Stadium before her beleaguered opponent retired through injury, trailing 6-0 2-0.

Diatchenko has struggled with an Achilles problem this year and it appeared to be the cause of her discomfort again as the world number 86 took a medical time-out at 5-0, then a toilet break at the end of the first set, before finally confirming her withdrawal.

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The interruptions made for a subdued atmosphere during what was meant to be the main event of the first day in Flushing Meadows, as any excitement was also numbed by Williams' total domination.

The American lost just five points through the entire match, hitting 12 winners and restricting Diatchenko to none.

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There will undoubtedly be tougher tests to come for the 21-time major winner but as opening statements go, it was about as emphatic as they come.

Williams is bidding to become the first player to win all four grand slams in a single year since Steffi Graf in 1988 and only the fourth female to achieve the feat in history.

Her chances of success were also improved on Monday as six seeds in the top half of the draw crashed out in the first round.

Sloane Stephens, Karolina Pliskova, Svetlana Kuznetsova, Carla Suarez Navarro, Jelena Jankovic and Ana Ivanovic all lost while third seed Maria Sharapova withdrew through injury on Sunday.

Williams will now play Holland's Kiki Bertens in round two.

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Topics:
US Open Tennis
Tennis
Serena Williams

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