Serena Williams made her post-childbirth comeback a winning one with a 7-5, 6-3 victory over Zarina Diyas in the first round at the BNP Paribas Open in California on Thursday.
In her first singles match in nearly 14 months, since winning 2017 Australian Open while pregnant, Williams looked understandably rusty in front of a large center court crowd.
Mixing 27 unforced errors with 34 winners, it was far from easy for the unseeded Williams on the slow hardcourt in Indian Wells.
Only two points from dropping the opening set, she showed the sort of poise that has earned her 23 grand slam singles titles.
After taking a deep breath, Williams unleashed a second serve that kicked up viciously, forcing the 172 cm Kazakh Diyas to reach high for her return, unable to get it back into play.
Holding serves to level at 5-5, Williams broke in the next game, letting out a scream and clenching her left fist as Diyas netted.
Serena Williams’ husband, Alexis Ohanian, was at the court to support his wife as he watches from the stands at Indian Wells.