(28 AUGUST) Kim closed the first act of her final US Open curtain call with an authoritative 6-3 6-1 win over 16-year-old WTA newcomer Victoria Duval in 51 minutes on Monday night.
This is Kim's 22nd straight win at Flushing Meadows, and she is looking to claim her fourth US Open crown before officially retiring after the tournament.
Little did Duval know when she won the USTA Girls' 18s National Championships, her automatic wild card entry would earn her a night on tennis's biggest stage, across the net from one of the players she looked up to as a kid. Despite her youth, the young American put up a good fight to start the match, taking a 3-2 lead shortly after conceding the first two games of the set.
But whether it was the nerves of playing under the lights of Arthur Ashe Stadium, or the sheer power and experience of Kim's game, Duval couldn't seem to handle the pressure after that and dropped the first set. Kim followed up with a clean second set, giving up only one game en route to securing a spot in the 2nd round.
Kim put on quite a show with 23 winners, compared to the lone winner Duval was able to strike against the veteran.
Playing against an opponent 13 years her junior, the Belgian admitted it brought back memories of her beginning years on the WTA Tour, and she saw a lot of potential in the young Duval's future on tour, as well.
'I had moments when I was younger when I played Steffi at Wimbledon and she was my big idol', she said.
'So, yeah, it kind of takes you back through a lot of emotions and memories. I was talking to her before the match. It was nice in a way to get a feeling of the atmosphere from her side. I just told her, you know, that we've all been there and it's great to have these opportunities. I look forward to kind of keeping an eye on her in the future.'
When all was said and done, it was Duval who gained a new fan, as Kim asked to take a photo with her after the match.
'It's a great memory for me as well to be in the position that I was in, playing somebody who followed me for most of my career. That has not really happened, I don't think, so it was nice in a way.'
In the 2nd round, Kim will play against Laura Robson. Their match will be the 3rd one tomorrow (Wednesday) on Arthur Ashe Stadium, and should not start before 3pm, local time.
adapted from www.usopen.org