Serena Williams’s path through the US Open draw is littered with fellow Americans – starting with Kristie Ahn in the…
Serena Williams’s path through the US Open draw is littered with fellow Americans – starting with Kristie Ahn in the first round on Tuesday.
Serena Williams vs Kristie Ahn | US Open 2020 women's singles R1 | 1/9/2020 19.00 BSTSerena Williams -6.5 games 21/20 Bet Now! New Customers only. 18+. T&C’s Apply. begambleaware.org.
Serena vs Ahn is live from New York on Tuesday 1 September, 2pm local/7pm BST
It’s tough to know what to expect from Serena Williams at this year’s US Open – she’s reached four Grand Slam finals in the past two years, but won none of them; she played brilliantly against sister Venus in Lexington, but then looked mentally and physically sub-optimal in defeats to Shelby Rogers and Maria Sakkari.
One thing is for certain, Williams will take a lot of beating at a tournament where she hasn’t failed to make the second week since her debut in 1998. New York native Kristie Ahn is the one with the unenviable task of trying to break that streak on Tuesday.
Read on for our preview, predictions and live streaming information.
How to watch Serena vs Ahn live
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Serena vs Ahn: Head-to-head
This will be the first meeting between Serena Williams and Kristie Ahn.
Serena vs Ahn: Preview
Not since her infamous defeat to Virginie Razzano at the French Open in 2012 – a loss that prompted a tactical re-evaluation and the hiring of Patrick Mouratouglou – has Serena Williams lost in the first round of a Grand Slam, and she doesn’t look too likely to start on Tuesday.
Even that slight qualification is a surprise, but then Williams hasn’t quite convinced in 2020. She did win her first seven matches of the season, dropping just one set, to claim the ASB Classic title in Auckland and reach the third round of the Australian Open, but then suffered an odd, error-strewn defeat to Wang Qiang 5-7 in the third set, and another narrow defeat at the end of a long third set to Anastasija Sevastova during Fed Cup.
Returning to action after the shutdown, Williams impressed with a comeback win over Bernarda Pera and frankly dazzled in a three-set clash with sister Venus which was one of the finest of their storied rivalry; but she lost in a third-set tie-break to Shelby Rogers the next day. She won a third-set tie-break to beat Arantxa Rus in a long, draining match in ‘Cincinnati’ last week, then failed to close out Maria Sakkari when she served for the match, ending up losing in three sets, cramping and looking exhausted by the end.
It bears repeating that Williams has made the final at four of the last eight Grand Slams she’d played, including both US Opens, despite struggling with injury issues and constantly lacking match practice. That has a lot to do with the fact that Grand Slams have rest days built in, with players rarely required to play on back-to-back days as they do at regular WTA events like Lexington and ‘Cincinnati’ (not that much is regular this year).
The 5’5” Kristie Ahn, a New York native playing the main draw of the US Open for the third time, had her best result in 2019 when she beat former champion Svetlana Kuznetsova, Anna Kalinskaya and Jelena Ostapenko to make the last 16 before falling to Elise Mertens. Currently ranked world no. 96, Ahn is coming off the back of a career-best season in 2019, but for obvious reasons it’s been difficult to capitalize on that momentum in 2020: The oft-injured American was 4-6 before the shutdown, but has played five matches since, qualifying for Lexington but retiring in the first round against Anna Blinkova and losing to Leylah Annie Fernandez in qualifying for ‘Cincinnati’.
Ahn is a likeable player with a great attitude but I just don’t see her being able to really push Williams, not in a match of standing and hitting like this one is likely to be – a dynamic which plays to all Williams’s strengths right now. This should be a swift win for Williams to start her US Open campaign.