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Williams can make history at Flushing Meadows - Navratilova

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NEWS
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151   //    24 Aug 2018, 17:29 IST
Serenacropped
Twenty three-time grand slam champion Serena Williams

Martina Navratilova believes Serena Williams has every chance of making history by winning the US Open on home soil despite being undercooked.

Williams missed an opportunity to match Margaret Court's record of 24 grand slam singles titles when she was beaten by Angelique Kerber in the final at Wimbledon last month.

The 36-year-old will head into her home major short of match practice, but Navratilova thinks she can move level with Court and surpass Chris Evert's tally of six triumphs at Flushing Meadows.

Navratilova said in her wtatennis.com column: "A hard court at the US Open offers a true bounce, and it's also Serena's favourite surface for movement.

"That means it's a bit easier for Serena - in comparison to when she is playing on clay and grass - to get some rhythm and to feel like she's match-tough. It’s easier to kind of fake it at the beginning and, by the second week, you don't have to fake it - it's real. 

"So I think the surface plays in her favour, as does competing at her home grand slam and having an American crowd cheer for her. All of those things will be helpful. Maybe there will also be a greater sense of urgency because it's the last grand slam of the year, and then it's a long way to go until the next opportunity to equal that record, which won't be until January's Australian Open.

"She's seeded 17, which is higher than if they just went off the world rankings, but in reality it doesn't really make much of a difference one way or the other. 

"Victory in New York this summer would also give Serena a seventh US Open title, which would be a record. But I don't think that this US Open is about Serena breaking her tie with Chris Evert on six titles. It's about trying to win a 24th Grand Slam to equal Court - that's the number she cares about. 

"Where she wins a 24th major is kind of irrelevant. Of course, it would be nice for Serena to have the record number of titles at the US Open - that would be a bonus - but I don't think that's on her radar. It's about 24 and history - that's enough to think about and to play for."

Williams will face Magda Linette in the first round in New York and could come up against her sister Venus in round three.

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