Serena Williams was relieved to get a victory in her opening match at the French Open in Paris.
The American made a successful return to Grand Slam tennis with a 7-6 (7-4) 6-4 win over Kristyna Pliskova at Roland Garros.
It was the three-time French Open champion’s first match on clay since 2016 and Williams’ first outing in a Grand Slam event following the birth of her daughter.
In a tough examination of her credentials, the 23-time major winner bounced back from 3-0 down in the tie-break to take the first set against her big-serving opponent.
There were five breaks of serve in the second set, with Williams clinching the crucial fifth before serving out to take the match and she admitted the ace-count was high.
“Kristyna played really, really well,” said Williams.
“I don’t know how many aces I saw during the match. I think there is a donation to charity for each ace, so both of us helped.”
Williams returned to tennis at Indian Wells in March, six months after giving birth to her first child. The 36-year-old will play Australia’s Ashleigh Barty in the next round and is happy to be up and running in the season’s second Grand Slam.
“Two years is a long time but I’ve trained hard on this surface. I’m so glad to win a match here and I’m taking it one day at a time,” she added.
Williams is 1.95 to win her next match against Barty on Thursday, with the Aussie edging favouritism at 1.75.