Former world number one Serena Williams won her first singles match on the WTA Tour for nearly 14 months as she returned after the birth of her child.
By SportBrief Reporter
The American, 36, reached the second round at Indian Wells with a 7-5 6-3 victory over Kazakhstan’s Zarina Diyas.
It was her first singles match on the Tour since she won the 2017 Australian Open while pregnant.
“I’m a little rusty but it doesn’t matter,” said the 23-time Grand Slam singles champion.
“It definitely wasn’t easy but it was good.”
The new mom was given a standing ovation as she walked onto court with her husband, Alexis Ohanian, in the crowd as she set up a second-round match with 29th-seeded Dutch player Kiki Bertens.
Williams gave birth to daughter Alexis Olympia on 1 September. However, she suffered post-childbirth health complications – including blood clots in her lungs – which were almost fatal.
As a result, Williams missed this year’s Australian Open in January because she did not consider herself ready for the tournament.
She played an exhibition match in Abu Dhabi in late December and a doubles rubber for the US Fed Cup team against the Netherlands last month.
Speaking after her win over Diyas, she said: “It was incredible. It’s been over a year and a kid later.
“I’m just out here on this journey doing the best I can.”