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Serena keen to adopt underdog mentality

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Originally published on: 26/02/10 12:46

Defending champion Williams began her quest for a fourth US Open crown by cruising to victory over fellow American Alexa Glatch on Monday. Second seed Williams, who has won the Australian Open and Wimbledon this year, took 62 minutes to complete a straightforward 6-4 6-1 win over the wild card entry at Arthur Ashe Stadium to ease into the second round.

“Ten years ago I definitely wasn’t a favourite,” Williams said. “I felt like I had nothing to lose and I like that attitude. When you play with that attitude then you can go a really long way. That’s how I would like to approach it this year.”

An all-Williams sister semi-final is on the cards with number three seed and two-time champion Venus Williams set to begin her campaign in the first night session of the championship against Russian Vera Dushevina.

Serena, though, said thoughts of future opponents or even winning the tournament outright were being kept at arm’s length and her second-round match against Hungary’s Melinda Czink would be all she would be thinking about.

“I don’t think about success,” she said. “I just think about playing a match and just staying focused. I just take it one day at a time.”

While Serena stays focused on the next round, older sister Venus could be forgiven for keeping a nervous eye on her quarter of the draw where she could face a very difficult fourth-round opponent in former champion Kim Clijsters.

The Belgian wild card brushed aside world number 79 Viktoriya Kutuzova of Ukraine 6-1 6-1 in just under an hour.

The 26-year-old Belgian was playing in New York for the first time since winning the 2005 women’s singles title, having retired from tennis in 2006 to start a family.

In just her third tournament back, and with victories over top 20 players Patty Schnyder, Marion Bartoli, Victoria Azarenka and Svetlana Kuznetsova already under her belt, Clijsters needed just 58 minutes to get past Kutuzova to set up a second-round tie with 14th seed Bartoli.

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