NEW YORK, Sporting Alert – Serena Williams quest to win another Grand Slam this year begins with a tough first round assignment at the 2016 US Open, one in which various pundits believe could produce an upset.
Watch Serena Williams v Ekaterina Makarova live stream on ESPN3.
The tournament top seed and world number one opens against Ekaterina Makarova of Russia in her first round game at Arthur Ashe Stadium, a clash that is being viewed as most likely to generate an upset.
Makarova is currently ranked No. 29 in the recently updated WTA Rankings, but was listed as high as No. 8 in April 2016.
This is why the Russian is being viewed as anything but an easy pushover for Williams, who enters this grand slam with a bit of a rust since winning Wimbledon 2016.
Williams and Makarova have met five times already, with the American winning four of those clashes.
The Russian beat Williams in the fourth round of the Australian Open four years ago, and she will be hoping for a similar result on Tuesday night at Flushing Meadow on day 2.
There is always pressure surrounding the American when it comes to grand slam tournaments, and chasing a 23rd grand slam singles title, which would see her breaking the professional era record she currently shares with German icon Steffi Graf, is not making things any easier.
Still, despite the tough first round draw, Williams remains relaxed.
“At this point, I’m taking it a day at a time,” said the 34-year-old in the build-up to the tournament. “I just am more relaxed, for sure.”
Speaking ahead of the battle with Makarova, the America added: “I think it’s OK. I’m OK with it.
“I think I try to look at it like we all always have tough matches. I’ve just got to do the best I can.”
Williams has won the US Open six times in her career so far and will be hoping to land her seventh at the end of this year’s tournament.
Despite the fuss, Serena Williams remains the strong favourite by 67-33 percent among the votes to beat Makarova in the first round.
The 2016 US Open runs from August 29 – September 11.