[CR1] Serena Williams (USA) vs. [CR86] Vitalia Diatchenko (USA)
Williams began her quest for the Calendar Grand Slam with a bang, albeit tainted because her opponent was injured. If there were any nerves, they were not apparent, at least in Williams’ game. Diatchenko had no plans to change her game against Williams and she never really got the chance to showcase her talent. It became apparent that something more than a bout of nerves was wrong in the first set when she barely won any points and was broken twice. It was definitive when she called for the trainer at 0-5. Play resumed after the trainer heavily taped her left ankle, but she was clearly not able to compete at her level.
The second set ended abruptly at 0-2 when Diatchenko retired due to injury. A pity it had to end this way. Hopefully it’s not too serious and she recovers soon. It’s not the way that any player wants to gain victory. Nevertheless, Williams moves into the second round after winning all eight games contested. This makes it extremely difficult to assess Williams’ game since she was not tested. In any event, now she has six to go. Her next opponent will be Kiki Bertens. This will be their first encounter. Although she is ranked 110, she has the type of game that can aggravate Williams. Perhaps we will get a better sense of how Williams is responding to the monumental pressure of the occasion. I will say, she looked pretty calm tonight.