Former World No. 1 Serena Williams' march towards reclaiming her US Open title began in stunning fashion when she overpowered Sandra Kleinova 6-1, 6-3 in a first round match. Williams made quick work of Kleinova, taking just 53 minutes to finish off the 26-year-old from the Czech Republic in front 23,000 at the Arthur Ashe Stadium.
"I think everyone out here would prefer to win all their matches really easy," Williams said. "I know I do. It saves my energy."
Williams advances to the second round where she will square off with American countrywoman Lindsay Lee-Waters.
The 22-year-old Williams had more winners (35-3) and aces (7-0) than Kleinova and won 83 percent of her first serve points.
"I am finally getting to a point where I'm actually playing better and focussing better," Williams said. "I think I performed at a decent level."
This was Williams' first singles match in a month as she embarks on a mission to re-emerge as the best female player in the world. "This (US Open) is my favourite (Grand Slam tournament) because its the first one I ever won," she said.
Williams, who has won this event twice before (2002, 1999), skipped last year's US Open after undergoing surgery to repair a damaged left knee that kept her sidelined until March.
With both Serena and her sister Venus absent due to injuries, Belgium's Justine Henin-Hardenne captured the 2003 title. Serena made a last-minute decision to pull out of the Athens Olympics but said her knee started feeling better the day after she decided not to get on a plane to Europe.
Asked how her knee felt during Monday's match, she said, "I am feeling pretty good out there."
Serena, who lately has been spending more time talking about what she plans to wear on the court than how she plans to beat her opponents, hasn't won a major in over a year. On Monday, she warmed up with a pair of knee-high black boots but decided not discard them for a regular pair of sneakers in the match.
"It is like a rebel look. I am being really rebellious," she said.