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Serena Williams is about to kick off her first round in her latest campaign to secure her record 24th grand slam title.

Having won just one title in 19 tournaments since returning from her maternity leave in 2018, it feels as if the goal is becoming more and more unattainable. But with a massively depleted women’s draw – only four of the world’s top 10 travelled to New York – surely, this has to be the fortnight she reaches the landmark moment? 

Before we (I) get ahead of ourselves with such ruminations, Williams has an opening round to get through first. And she faces compatriot Kristie Ahn. 

Ten years Williams’ junior, Ahn is ranked just inside the top 100 so should be an easy opponent. But she made a surprise run at Flushing Meadows last year to the last 16, so should not be completely discounted. The pair have never faced each other, so it will be interesting to see how Ahn, a popular player on the tour and a good friend of Naomi Osaka, responds to such an occasion. 

Williams meanwhile will want to put to bed the memory of a disappointing defeat to Maria Sakkari in last weeks’ Western & Southern Open. 

All the action to come, as soon as Andy Murray and Nishioka are done on Arthur Ashe. They’re currently battling in their fifth set.