The former world number one, who is expected to be among main favorites at Flushing Meadows later this month, chose the Top Seed Open in Lexington as a warm-up event before the US Open.
Williams took on her less decorated compatriot Bernarda Pera, who appeared to be a tough nut crack, as the US star needed all three sets to advance to the second round.
After tennis competitions resumed following a lengthy coronavirus hiatus it has become clear that Serena Williams’ dream to win a 24th Grand Slam might be delayed again as the player seemed far from being in her best shape.
Both players got off to a solid start confidently holding their serves before the world number 60 stunned her rival, breaking her serve to take a two-point lead which Williams couldn’t fight back.
Despite saving several break points the US legend failed to save the first set, allowing Pera to take it 6-4.
The US star redeemed herself for a poor start, breaking her opponent in the beginning of the second set, but failed to secured her lead immediately losing a game on her own serve.
The six-time US Open winner regained composure at the end of the set, forcing her opponent to commit unforced errors which helped Williams to win two games in a row and seal the set 6-4.
The US star continued dominating on the court in the third set, creating a solid 4-1 lead which she didn’t squander to seal a 6-1 win.
Despite taking a well-deserved victory, Williams’ performance left many questions unanswered, as she definitely appeared not in her best physical shape.
In the absence of many top players who have withdrawn from the US Open, Williams’ dream of clinching a coveted 24th Slam looks realistic, however a lengthy hiatus caused by the pandemic could affect her performance as she has little time left to gain competitive shape.