The US Open Day 1 was Monday. It felt like the whole day was building up to the first night match: Serena Williams vs. Maria Sharapova. I’m not sure if they’ve ever had to play each other first round before, and they had never – in all of the years of their “rivalry” – played each other at the US Open. Even though Pova returned from her doping suspension in 2017 and Serena returned from maternity leave in early 2018, this was actually the first they’ve played since January 2016 (shortly after which Pova tested positive for meldonium). They were supposed to meet at the French Open last year but Serena pulled out of the match. So… there was a lot of build-up and angst about this being a first-round match.
Do I think that the USTA rigged it so that these two would meet first round? Yes. I do. Pova’s ranking has plummeted because of several injuries and she’s struggled to win matches for the past year. Serena has had injuries too, but she’s still managed to retain a top-ten ranking, and she’s the eighth seed at the US Open.
Anyway, there was angst. I wasn’t worried though – as soon as the draw came out last week, I knew that as soon as Serena saw Pova in the first round, Serena would be super-motivated from the very start. And that’s exactly what happened – Serena was on fire, breaking Pova five times over two sets and wrapping up a 6-1, 6-1 victory in just shy of an hour. Pova wasn’t even playing that poorly (all things considered), but Serena just wouldn’t let her breathe. It was beautiful. What was not beautiful: Chris Evert’s nasty ESPN commentary, where she seemed to promote this idea that Pova and Serena are somehow equal, or that their achievements are somehow equal.
Put this in a museum! Love it. Serena has now beaten Maria Sharapova NINETEEN TIMES IN A ROW. Serena has beaten Pova 20 TIMES overall.
A few more things… I loved Serena’s little mini-catsuit, it was so cute and sleek. Serena’s husband Alexis Ohanian wore a vintage D.A.R.E. (Drug Abuse Resistance Education) shirt, because Alexis is a petty bitch and that’s why we love him. And after the match, in Serena’s press conference, she pulled an “I don’t know her” about Carlos Ramos, the umpire who inserted himself into last year’s US Open final.
Alexis Ohanian showing up to the match between Serena & Maria Sharapova in a D.A.R.E t shirt is the type of solidarity in pettiness I need from my partner.
Photos courtesy of Getty, Avalon Red.