Serena Williams regained her footing with a solid 6-3, 6-2 win over the very talented Czech Karolina Muchova in the third round of the US Open after suffering a huge scare against 17-year-old local wildcard Catherine McNally a couple of days ago. Williams put up a clinical performance, sealing the one-sided victory within just an hour and 14 minutes of play.
Scheduled during the day on Arthur Ashe for the first time this tournament, Williams certainly loved the quick conditions as she came out of the blocks firing, firing 20 winners to just 15 unforced errors to quickly eliminate any chances of an upset. Many tipped Muchova to leave her mark on her first appearance in Arthur Ashe, but she failed to play her game as Williams was simply firing on all cylinders, disallowing her to do so.
It was only a year ago when Muchova, then ranked 202nd in the world, stunned Muguruza to reach the third round of the US Open as a qualifier. This year, she returns as an established world number 44 who has reached the Wimbledon quarterfinals.
Williams, still looking for her 24th Grand Slam title, marches into the fourth round and will face another crafty player in Petra Martic. Having defeated rival Sharapova 6-1, 6-1 in the opening round, the American sent a warning signal to the rest of the field and announced her arrival emphatically.
Williams claims the sole break to take the opening frame
The net game is a crucial element in Muchova’s game and that certainly showed in the early stages of the match as she had a bright start, looking to provide a tough challenge for the legendary 23-time Major champion on the biggest stage in tennis. Williams looked unfazed, though, avoiding a slow start with some powerful serves.
Muchova was under pressure from the third game onwards, being pushed to the brink by Williams as the crowd favourite looked flawless at the baseline. The Czech underdog was forced to save four break points and played some clutch tennis to remain in contention, but it was only a matter of time.
Williams finally managed to claim the breakthrough as she sealed the break in the seventh game, and did exceptionally well to erase a break point while consolidating the break as the comeback door was slammed shut by the big-serving Williams. The intensity of Muchova’s game experienced a visible dip, and she was broken to love to concede the first set 3-6.
Williams seals the deal
Riding on her momentum, it was difficult not to see Williams strolling to the straight-sets win as she opened the second set with a comfortable hold. Muchova knew that she had to play some of her best tennis to have any chance of earning an upset, but threw in a nervous double-fault to get broken for the third consecutive time.
The Czech stopped the rout of seven consecutive lost games with a routine hold, but things got interesting when Williams started to miss several shots and Muchova found a way to return on serve within a blink of an eye. However, the world number 44 was unable to capitalize on her advantage as she was immediately broken straight back in the following game with Williams knowing that anything other than a break will put her in a dangerous position.
From there, it was one-way traffic as Williams dominated the baseline, ultimately claiming the confident 6-3, 6-2 win as she barely broke a sweat to brush off a nervous Muchova off the court.