Serena Williams has gotten off to a winning start in her Canadian Open campaign for her first singles win on a tennis court in over a year.
The 23-time grand slam winner had lost in the first round of Wimbledon in her previous attempt at a singles comeback after not playing competitive tennis in almost a year due to injuries.
Her 6-3 6-4 win over Spain’s Nuria Parrizas did not come with ease though as the match went on for nearly two hours. Williams needed four set points to seal the first stanza while the second set was even closer with the American having to fend off four breakpoints in an 18-minute service game at one point.
She eventually prevailed for her first singles win since the 2021 French Open. Serena Williams will either face the 12th-seeded Olympic champion Belinda Bencic or Czech Tereza Martincova in the next round of the Canadian Open.
Wimbledon champion Elena Rybakina and two-time Candian Open winner Simona Halep also reached the next round of the U.S Open tune-up event.
Halep the 15th seeded Romanian needed just 61 minutes to secure a 6-0 6-2 win over Croatia’s Donna Vekic.
Kazakh Rybakina, who followed her Wimbledon triumph with a first-round exit at San Jose last week, beat Czech Marie Bouzkova 7-5 6-7(3) 6-1 for her first win as a Grand Slam champion.
Czech 14th seed Karolina Pliskova and Latvian 16th seed Jelena Ostapenko also advanced to the next round.
Meanwhile, over at the men’s draw, Stan Wawrinka’s attempts to get his comeback season off the ground took another hit as he fell 6-3 3-6 6-3 to Emil Ruusuvuori in the rain-delayed opening round.
Ruusuvuori will face Hubert Hurkacz in the next round who the Finn defeated in Washington last week for the biggest win of his career.
Heavy rain had delayed the start of the Masters 1000 tournament for hours and forced the postponement of many other matches.