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NEW YORK -- After her disappointing flameout in Rio de Janeiro, Serena Williams highly anticipated first-round match at the US Open was a time for temperature-taking.How would her tender, 35-year-old right shoulder, the one that forced her to withdraw from Cincinnati, hold up? Perhaps more importantly, what was her state of mind entering the seasons final Grand Slam at Arthur Ashe Stadium?After her surprisingly routine 6-3, 6-3 victory over Ekaterina Makarova on Tuesday night (in 63 minutes), we can report that both the shoulder and psyche are resting comfortably.I got off to a fast start because I knew she was a really tough opponent, Serena said in her on-court interview. I definitely think its fair to call it a home court.Serena has now won 305 Grand Slam matches -- one shy of Martina Navratilovas Open era record. Roger Federer?has won 307. Williams is 64-1 in first-round matches at Slams.Here are some more takeaways from the match:Serena served smartly: She was credited with 12 aces, a healthy number, but it must be noted that the majority of those were in the low 100s. She placed the ball beautifully. Her fastest serve (not an ace) was 121 mph, a little slower than her usual highest heat. Of her shoulder, she said, Im going to have to wait until tomorrow to see. I was just happy I was able to make it out here today. Every day, Ill just see how it goes.Focus was not a problem: Some Serena fans were concerned when she drew one of the toughest unseeded players for her first-round match. Serena has been known to take some of her lesser-ranked, early-round opponents lightly, but there was no danger of that. Markarova beat her in a big spot -- the fourth round of the 2012 Australian Open -- and Serena was engaged from the beginning. She finished with 27 winners and 22 unforced errors.Makarova shrank from the moment: If anyone is equipped to stand up to Serena, its the big-hitting Russian. But forehand errors gave Serena the key break in the sixth game of the match, and Makarova finished with five double faults and four aces. Serena has now beaten Makarova at the US Open in 2012, 2014 and 2016.History continues to beckon: Its all in front of Serena in New York. She can break the Open era record of 22 Grand Slam singles titles, which she shares with Steff Graf, and tie Grafs all-time mark of 186 consecutive weeks at No. 1. A win would give Williams a staggering seven US Open titles, one more than Chis Everts total. That would be a pretty sweet cherry on the top of 2016. Mens Nike Basketball Shoes Lebron 15 XV Wine Red/Icy Blue . That gave fans outside Joe Louis Arena another chance to ask for autographs from the 19-year-old whose stardom in the NHL has arrived earlier than most expected. Kyrie S1 Hybrid For Sale . McCarthy, a player who played some games in the second tier for Wigan at the start of this season, would go on to shine inside Evertons midfield, outplaying the man he was brought in to replace, on one of the grandest stages in English football. On Saturday, it was fitting that Manchester Uniteds most recent dagger into the chest was delivered by Frenchman Yohan Cabaye, a wonderfully gifted central midfielder who put on an outstanding effort for Newcastle at Old Trafford. . -- Matt Rupert scored once in regulation and again in the shootout as the London Knights extended their win streak to nine games by defeating the Owen Sound Attack 4-3 on Friday in Ontario Hockey League action. Lebron Soldier 12 Camo . They hope to persuade the other team owners and commissioner Roger Goodell to put pressure on Redskins owner Daniel Snyder to drop the nickname they find offensive. "Given the way the meeting transpired," Ray Halbritter, an Oneida representative and leader of the "Change the Mascot Campaign," said Wednesday, "it became somewhat evident they were defending the continued use of the name. Mens Nike Basketball Shoes LeBron Soldier 10 White/Gum White/Metallic Silver-White 844379-101 . Ferrer, trying to win his fourth title on Mexican soil, will next play South Africas Kevin Anderson, who eliminated American Sam Querrey,7-6 (2), 6-4. Also Wednesday, Gilles Simon (6) of France beat Donald Young of the United States 6-4, 6-3, Ukraines Alexandr Dolgopolov downed Frenchman Jeremy Chardy 6-3, 6-4 and Croatias Ivo Karlovic defeated Dudi Sela of Israel 7-6 (4), 6-2. NEW YORK -- The last time the two womens finalists at this U.S. Open, Angelique Kerber of Germany and Karolina Pliskova of the Czech Republic, played each other, it really was no contest.Pliskova dominated the higher-ranked and more-experienced Kerber, not merely winning in straight sets, but dropping only four games along the way.Like Saturdays matchup, the one three weeks ago was played on a hard court.Like Saturday, there was a title at stake.There are, however, some key differences, including that the earlier one was at a run-of-the-mill event and the upcoming one is at a Grand Slam tournament. And, perhaps most significantly of all when it comes to the outcome this time, when Kerber lost at Cincinnati in August, she knew she had to win to make her debut at No. 1 in the WTA rankings -- whereas now, shes guaranteed of wresting the top spot from Serena Williams on Monday, regardless of what happens in Arthur Ashe Stadium.So while there is still a lot on the line, of course -- millions of dollars, a major trophy -- Kerber does not have to deal with the pressure of trying to ascend to No. 1. Shes already assured of that.That was always a dream for me, the No. 2-seeded Kerber said after beating Caroline Wozniacki 6-4, 6-3 in the semifinals Thursday night, when 10th-seeded Pliskova upset Williams 6-2, 7-6 (5). I was trying to not think too much the whole last few weeks about this, and now I reach it. So its something really special for me.All in all, its been quite a special 2016 for Kerber.This will be her third appearance in a Grand Slam title match: She beat Williams in the Australian Open final in January, then lost to the American in the Wimbledon final in July.Kerber has a tour-leading 53 match wins, two titles and now three runs to major finals this season, which accounts for her move up.She gets a lot of balls back. She also knows how to change the pace. She gets good angles. And, yeah, shes playing really well, said Wozniacki, who spent 67 weeks atop the WTA, finishing 2010 and 2011 at No.dddddddddddd. 1.You know, its not a lot of people who have been No. 1. Its a huge thing. She definitely has a target on her back now. Everyone wants to beat the No. 1 player in the world. Shes going to enjoy it. First, she has a match here that shes focused on.That comes against Pliskova, who never had been past the third round in 17 previous major appearances but became only the fourth woman to beat both Williams sisters during one Grand Slam tournament.I hope I didnt stop yet, that there is still one more step to go. Ill do anything for getting the title, Pliskova said. Even if I dont get it, its a big result. Im really happy to be there and even have the chance to play in the final here.The match offers an intriguing contrast in styles. As Venus and Serena Williams saw first-hand, the 6-foot-1 Pliskova goes right at opponents with big, flat groundstrokes and tough-to-handle serves. She averaged 109 mph on her first serves Thursday -- faster than the younger Williams, known for the best serve in the womens game -- and leads the tour in aces this year.The 5-foot-8 Kerber, meanwhile, is terrific at retrieving and counter-punching, dropping down to a knee at times along the baseline to get balls back.Her serve is a weakness: She was broken while serving for the match against Wozniacki, for example, and lost three service games in the first set alone of her quarterfinal against 2015 runner-up Roberta Vinci. Kerber acknowledged that aspect of her game will be key on Saturday.She also said she wants to try to control points more than she did the last time she faced Pliskova.I was just pushing too much the balls there, Kerber said, so I think I will change this a little bit. 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