SERENA Williams lived to fight another day and held off retirement after a magical night in New York.
The 40-year-old icon won her first round match at the US Open in front of an electric Arthur Ashe Stadium.
Williams beat Danka Kovinic 6-3 6-3 in one hour and 39 minutes to seal her place in the second round.
It meant at least one more singles match for one of the all-time greats, who was given a huge ovation.
Serena walked out to huge cheers from 23,000 fans packed into Arthur Ashe Stadium.
Celeb stars such as Mike Tyson, Hugh Jackman and President Bill Clinton were also in attendance to roar Serena to victory.
Serena said: “I feel so comfortable on this court in front of everyone here.
“The crowd was crazy, it really helped pull me through.
“It’s been such a hard decision to retire because when you’re passionate about something and love it so much, it’s harder to walk away than not.
“I think now’s the time. I have a family. There’s other chapters in life. I call it evolution.
“I’m still going to be crazy and intense and I’m still going to be around.”
Serena continued: “It’s so important to give your all no matter what obstacle you face.
“I’ve been down and out so many times and in the public eye.
“I know it sounds cliche but i just want people to be inspired – I’m from Compton, California and I made it.”
The tennis icon announced her retirement from the sport in a heartfelt message earlier this month.
She wrote in Vogue magazine that she’s turning 41 and ‘something’s got to give’.
Serena wrote: “Believe me, I never wanted to have to choose between tennis and a family. I don’t think it’s fair.
“A lot of people don’t realize that I was two months pregnant when I won the Australian Open in 2017.
“But I’m turning 41 this month, and something’s got to give.
“I have never liked the word retirement. It doesn’t feel like a modern word to me. I’ve been thinking of this as a transition, but I want to be sensitive about how I use that word, which means something very specific and important to a community of people.
“Maybe the best word to describe what I’m up to is evolution. I’m here to tell you that I’m evolving away from tennis, toward other things that are important to me.
“A few years ago I quietly started Serena Ventures, a venture capital firm. Soon after that, I started a family. I want to grow that family.”
Serena has won 23 grand slam singles titles, one shy of Margaret Court’s record.
And the dream to win No 24 is still alive for Williams after coming through on Monday night.