Serena Williams defeats Danka Kovinic

 American, Serena Williams extended her US Open farewell with a gritty opening win on an entertaining night packed with hope and celebration in New York last night.

Williams, who is set to retire after the tournament, won 6-3, 6-3 against Montenegro’s Danka Kovinic .

A near-capacity 25,000 crowd on Arthur Ashe Stadium willed on their idol, who responded in typical determined style.

Williams, 40, will play Estonian second seed, Anett Kontaveit  in the second round tomorrow.

The 23-time Grand Slam singles champion, who is one short of Australian Margaret Court’s all-time record, is also playing in the doubles alongside older sister Venus, adding another exciting element to what she hopes will be a long goodbye this fortnight.

Her first assignment was beating Kovinic , ranked 80th in the world, and there was a thunderous noise when she took the first of three match points to ensure her singles career was not over yet.

Williams jumped on the spot when Kovinic’s  backhand return hit the net, then twirled ecstatically in the centre of the court before blowing kisses to her adoring fans when she returned to her seat to soak in the occasion.