Serena Williams started her 2019 US Open campaign in dominant fashion with a thorough dismantling of long-time rival Maria Sharapova in the first round of the women’s singles. The American shattered the hype that surrounded the match between two heavyweights of the women’s game and came through 6-1, 6-1 in just 58 minutes.

The 23-time women’ singles Grand Slam champion is seeking a historic seventh title at Flushing Meadows and it will also give her 24 majors equalling the all-time record set by Margaret Court. Williams has made three finals since returning to tennis after giving birth to daughter Alexis Olympia but is yet to claim a single title.

Williams admitted that Sharapova’s game “really matches” up with hers which allowed her to dominate the match without giving the Russian a chance to make a comeback. She also thanked the fans for the continuous support and revealed she was amped up going into the game.

"Her game really matches up well against mine," Williams said after the game. "Her ball somehow lands in my strike zone. It's just perfect for me. I was able to zone in, especially down breakpoints, not letting her in the match. She's the kind of player that keeps going. Even towards the end, she just wants to keep fighting."

Williams was brutal on the court against Sharapova but she was equally brutal off it when answering questions during her post-match press conference, especially about chair umpire Carlos Ramos. The American had branded the official a “thief” and a “sexist” after he took a game away from her in the 2018 US Open women’s singles final after three violations in a game which she lost in straight sets to Naomi Osaka.

The United States Tennis Association (USTA) had already ruled that Ramos will not officiate any match involving Williams or her older sister Venus Williams. But when the world no. 8 was asked about Ramos, she simply stated: “I don’t know who that is.” It is clear that Williams does not want to dwell on the past, choosing to ignore the controversy surrounding last season’s final.