US Open: Serena Williams beats Maria Sharapova inside an hour as Konta and Evans also reach second round

Serena Williams triumphed over Maria Sharapova in a US Open first-round contest as one-sided as their 15-year rivalry.

Williams, the 23-time grand slam champion, has now won 20 of their 22 meetings following a thumping 6-1 6-1 victory.

It was the pair’s first encounter since January 2016, and was all the more eagerly-anticipated after Williams pulled out of a scheduled meeting at last year’s French Open through injury.

Williams made light work of Sharapova in New York

Getty Images – Getty

Williams made light work of Sharapova in New York

Sharapova is nowhere near the player who beat Williams in the 2004 Wimbledon final – and also won their next match the same year – but despite the scoreline she did not play at all badly.

The Russian, 32, got a healthy 73 per cent of her first serves in. One fierce cross-court winner on the run even had Williams applauding.

But Sharapova could barely lay a glove on Williams, who turns 38 this month and remains tantalisingly within touching distance of Margaret Court’s record of 24 major titles.

Victory was wrapped up when a Sharapova return floated long after only 59 minutes.

Elsewhere, Johanna Konta had some A-list backing as she battled into round two.

Avengers star Tom Hiddleston, currently starring in Betrayal on Broadway, was in the British number one’s box following a chance meeting in New York.

And after two hours the end game arrived for Russian Daria Kasatkina as Konta progressed 6-1 4-6 6-2.

Konta is already Britain’s sole representative in the women’s singles after Harriet Dart bowed out.

Konta beat Daria Kasatkina and now faces Margarita Gasparyan in round two

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Konta beat Daria Kasatkina and now faces Margarita Gasparyan in round two

Londoner Dart, who came through three rounds of qualifying to reach the main draw for the first time, lost 6-3 6-1 to Romanian Ana Bogdan.

Dan Evans became the first British male through after a four-set win over Adrian Mannarino of France.

The British number two, who reached the third round on his last visit to Flushing Meadows three years ago, triumphed 6-4 6-3 2-6 6-3 in a shade over three hours.

Cameron Norrie followed Evans onto Court 10 but could not follow his fellow Brit into round two.

The 24-year-old saved two match points before taking French qualifier Gregoire Barrere into a fifth set, and then twice served for the match.

But Barrere forced a tie-break and Norrie bowed out after a gruelling four-hour marathon, 7-6 (4) 6-4 4-6 6-7 (5) 7-6 (2).

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Tennis – talkSPORT

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