Serena tops Townsend in Flushing Meadows opener

Wed Aug 27, 2014 12:42am EDT
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By Larry Fine

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Serena Williams started her quest to join Chris Evert and Martina Navratilova on the career grand slam list with a 6-3 6-1 victory over 18-year-old fellow American Taylor Townsend at the U.S. Open on Tuesday.

Williams, seeking her third successive U.S. Open title and 18th grand slam singles crown of her career, was simply too experienced for the erratic-yet-gifted Townsend, the 2012 Australian Open junior singles and doubles champion.

"Taylor is incredibly talented, she's just so good," Williams said of the big-serving left-hander in a courtside interview, while praising the emerging crop of U.S. women in professional tennis. "We have such an amazing future."

Margaret Court (24), Steffi Graf (22) and Helen Wills Moody (19) lead the list of all-time grand slam singles titles in women's tennis.

Townsend wore a big smile during the 55-minute match despite receiving a lesson from the 32-year-old Williams, who feels a kinship with the teen from Chicago with the great touch and instinct for serve-and-volley.

"It was just a lot of different emotions and feelings that were coming," said Townsend about the experience on Arthur Ashe Stadium court. "It was just a first for a lot.

"I was playing against one of my tennis idols, someone I've been watching for years and years. Playing in my home, the last slam of the year in front of an American crowd."

Townsend began strongly but after a service break in the third game Williams took over.   Continued...

Serena Williams of the U.S. returns a shot to compatriot Taylor Townsend during their women's singles match at the U.S. Open tennis tournament in New York August 26, 2014.   REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton