NEW YORK — Good as she is, Serena Williams can find it tough to deal with swirling wind, so much so that she double faulted three times in her first service game Thursday at the U.S. Open.
But quickly putting behind a poor-serving start, and showing absolutely no other signs of the type of up-and-down play that has plagued her at Grand Slams this season, Williams dismissed 81st-ranked American Vania King 6-1, 6-0 in 56 minutes to reach the third round.
"She never let me in," said King, 25. "She's played at such a high level for so long, and I used to watch when I was a kid, growing up. So it's kind of surreal to see the person that you've been watching on TV in front of you and playing. It was difficult."
Williams ran her Open winning streak to 16 matches as she tries to become the first woman to win three consecutive titles at Flushing Meadows since Chris Evert took four in a row from 1975-78.
"You always hear about who is winning, who is losing. You hear about upsets. But for me, especially lately, I have to worry about my first round, my second round, and my third round. I can't get too far ahead of myself," Williams said. "At this point, I'm trying to stay alive."
King, who studied music as a kid and at the 2006 Open performed America the Beautiful, was asked: "After a tough match like this, can you think of a song you might want to sing in the shower or sing to your friends — or to us?" King chuckled, paused, sang a few stanzas of Can't Help Lovin' That Man, then briefly switched to Fever.
CiCi Bellis, the first 15-year-old since 1996 to win a U.S. Open match, could not follow that up with another victory, losing 6-3, 0-6, 6-2 to 48th-ranked Zarina Diyas.
"Maybe it didn't turn out how I wanted it to, but thank you, everybody, for coming out and watching," Bellis told the overflowing and wildly supportive crowd in an on-court interview. "It was amazing. I mean, I never thought I'd be here. This whole thing has been such a great experience,""
Eighth-seeded Ana Ivanovic had 29 unforced errors in a 7-5, 6-4 loss to 42nd-ranked Karolina Pliskova.
"It was just a really bad day," Ivanovic said.
No. 24 seed and Tampa resident Samantha Stosur lost to Kaia Kanepi 3-6, 6-3, 7-6 (10-8).
Men's top seed Novak Djokovic won in straight sets. Others through easily included No. 8 Andy Murray, No. 9 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, No. 10 Kei Nishikori and No. 13 John Isner, a part-time Tampa resident who faces a third-round matchup with 22nd-seeded Philipp Kohlschreiber, who has beaten him in the same round the past two years. "Bizarre," Isner said.
Djokovic danced for the fans, doing a sort of salsa to Iggy Azalea's hit Fancy, after his 6-1, 6-3, 6-0 rout of Paul-Henri Mathieu.