World number one Serena Williams blew past Vania King 6-1, 6-0 and into the third round of the U.S. Open on a windswept day at Flushing Meadows on Thursday, then pulled a little double duty joining big sister Venus for a doubles win.
"I'm ready, fit and feeling good," said Serena. "We really enjoy playing together, she added of the 7-6 (0) 6-7 (4) 6-1 win over Hungary's Timea Babos and France's Kristina Mladenovic. "We really embrace being role models. We think it's a great opportunity and we almost feel honored and pleasured to have that label."
While the Williams sisters may enjoy being role models, Serena has been busy at the year's final grand slam providing the next generation of American players with a tennis lesson.
Her bid for an 18th career grand slam title has so far come at the expense of her fellow Americans, dashing the hopes of 18-year-old compatriot Taylor Townsend in the opening round and King in the second. Up next is yet another American Varvara Lepchenko, who advanced with a 6-4 6-0 win over Germany's Mona Barthel.
"The fact is if I lose, it's bigger news than if I win," said Williams.
"That is a test to how much people believe in my game and my skill and how much they appreciate the sport and how good they think I am. I've had three tries to get to 18 and it hasn't happened. Hopefully I'll get there one day. I'm kind of stuck right now at 17, which to be honest is not a bad number to be stuck at. It's better than 16."
The first meeting between Williams and King will not go down as a memorable one, especially for the 81st-ranked King as Williams needed a mere 56 minutes to seal the victory on a sun-kissed Arthur Ashe Stadium court. Williams had more trouble with the gusty conditions than with her opponent, committing three double faults in her opening service game. But she would eventually gain enough control of her serve and groundstrokes blasting 25 winners past an overwhelmed King, who could manage just five.
"It's so hard to play in the wind," said the top-seed, a five time champion at Flushing Meadows. "I'm very happy to get through a solid match with the conditions today. You have to be able to adjust."