Williams, a six-time champion at Flushing Meadows, missed last year’s edition as she gave birth to daughter Olympia on September 1. She was all-business on her return under the floodlights on the Arthur Ashe Stadium court, where she has lifted the trophy six times.
Linette, the world number 68 from Poland who was facing Williams for the first time, held her own in the early going. But Williams broke her in the seventh game of the opening set to gain the upper hand and from there the American superstar rolled. The first set was tight,” Williams, seeded 17th, said. “It was my first match back here in New York so that wasn’t the easiest. “Once I got settled I started doing what I’m trying to do in practice. I think I’m getting there,” added Williams, who reached the final at Wimbledon only to fall short of matching Margaret Court’s all-time record of 24 major titles.
She didn’t face a break point in the 70 minute match, but as her momentum built her emotions burst out with fist-clenched shouts of “come on”. After Williams held serve from deuce for a 5-3 lead, Linette would hold to force Williams to serve out the set. From there, it was all Williams as she raced through the second set in 28 minutes. She next faces Germany’s Carina Witthoeft, with a possible third-round clash with 16th-seeded sister Venus in the offing.