Serena Williams took another step towards her first calendar Grand Slam with victory over Kiki Bertens in the second round of the US Open today.
The world number one trailed 4-0 in the opening tie-break but came back to win 7-6 (7-5) 6-3 at Arthur Ashe Stadium.
Williams, 33, is now five wins from her 22nd major title and the first calendar Slam in 27 years.
Elsewhere, defending champion Marin Cilic returned to the Arthur Ashe stadium for the first time since winning the title last year with a 6-2 6-3 7-5 win over Evgeny Donskoy.
Tenth seed Milos Raonic overcame a back problem to beat Fernando Verdasco 6-2 6-4 6-7 (5-7) 7-6 (7-1), while women’s 25th seed Eugenie Bouchard beat Polona Hercog 6-3 6-7 (2-7) 6-3.
The scream after the first set and the grimace at the end of the match were evidence that Williams was far from her best.
Bertens, ranked 110th, took an early lead and served for the first set but could not convert, and the Dutch qualifier then let a 4-0 lead slip in the tie-break.
Williams has spent much of her Grand Slam year fighting back from slow starts, however, and said afterwards: “It definitely doesn’t worry me. I think being down a lot, I know I can try to make a comeback.”
The six-time US Open champion would end the match with 10 double faults, and 34 errors to 23 winners, and was just happy to get the job done in straight sets.
“I’ve been really relaxed, but today I was a little tight and and I think it showed,” she said.
Wimbledon doubles finalists Jamie Murray and Australian John Peers made a comfortable start to their US Open campaign.
The pair beat American wildcards Bjorn Fratangelo and Dennis Novikov 6-3 6-2 on court 10.
Murray and Peers, seeded eighth, are in the same half of the draw as top seeds Bob and Mike Bryan but could not meet the Americans before the semi-finals.