(Photo: AP Photo/Elise Amendola)
For some reason, it was thought that Serena Williams’ first return to the U.S. Open since her infamous meltdown would be drama-filled Tuesday night.
However, it was anything but.
Williams came out "all business" and easily dispatched of 54th-ranked Bojana Jovanovski 6-1, 6-1 in her bid for a fourth U.S. Open title at Flushing Meadows and her 14th Grand Slam championship.
There were no boos or cold greetings from the crowd, who may have remembered the 2009 tirade that was brought on when Williams disagreed with a foot-fault call by the official in a semifinals loss. Williams, one of the favorites to win this year’s U.S. Open, insisted Tuesday that the whole ordeal was far from her thoughts.
"If anything, I thought, 'Wow, I'm back. I haven't played in a long time.' I'm telling you: Out of sight, out of mind for me," she said. "You guys should try it."
Williams, seeded 28th, was obviously more concerned with her match, in which she was dominant over Jovanovski. Williams put together 22 winners, never faced a break point and required just 56 minutes to dispatch of her opponent to advance to the second round.
For Williams, this was definitely a triumphant return in more ways than one. She missed the 2010 U.S. Open due to a foot injury and life-threatening illness. Williams has been out of tennis almost an entire year while getting healthy again and has only played in a handful of tournaments prior to the U.S. Open.
"I'm so happy to be here. I didn't think I would make it," said Williams, whose ranking fell to 175th last month because of all that time off. "Just feel so blessed. I'm so happy."