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Serena powers past Schiavone
Serena Williams looked every inch the title favourite as she powered past Francesca Schiavone 6-0 6-1 in the first round of the US Open.
The pair opened the night session on Arthur Ashe, with top seed Williams beginning the defence of the trophy she won for a fourth time 12 months ago.
The 31-year-old has won eight titles already this season, including the French Open, and former Roland Garros champion Schiavone simply had no answer.
She won just six points in the first set as Williams sent the ball flying to all corners of the court with immense power and precision.
For a long time it looked like Schiavone would not win a single game as Williams made it 10 games in a row.
She had a point for an eleventh, which would have left her serving for the match, but this time Schiavone held off her opponent and finally got on the board with a forehand volley.
But that was as good as it got for the Italian as Williams wrapped up a 6-0 6-1 victory after exactly an hour when Schiavone put a forehand long.
Next up for Williams is Kazakhstan's Galina Voskoboeva.
Williams said drawing 2010 French Open winner Schiavone had focused her mind, which explained the one-sided scoreline.
"I was just out there trying to be focused," she said. "When you see you have to go up against a former grand slam champion, it's not very easy to see your name in a draw like that. You have to be very serious."
It was a good day for the Williams family, with sister Venus earlier posting one of her best results of the year with a dominant victory over 12th seed Kirsten Flipkens.
Asked whether she was happier for her sister or herself, Serena said: "They're equal. I was really excited to see Venus win. I know she's been working hard, she had a tough opponent, so for her to come through was just awesome."
Williams also claimed she was happy to have lost her last match before the tournament, a final defeat by Victoria Azarenka in Cincinnati last weekend, because it lifted a little of the pressure.
"I'm happy because people are spreading the love," she said. "It's still a lot of expectation, but it's a little more spread now. I feel good about that."
Schiavone is never a player to hide her emotions and her growing frustration was evident. In the third game of the second set, she resorted to hugging a ball boy to relieve the tension.
Asked what she thought when she saw the draw, Schiavone said: "Oh, s**t. But it's normal. She has two legs, I have two legs. Two arms. We are the same. We are human. One has to win. She was much, much better than me."