Serena Williams got off to a slow start in her first match in six months, but she prevailed Tuesday to set up a second-round showdown with her sister.
Top-seeded Serena Williams rallied past fellow American Bernarda Pera 4-6, 6-4, 6-1 in the first round of the Top Seed Open in Lexington, Ky.
Her next opponent will be Venus Williams, who defeated Belarus’ Victoria Azarenka 6-3, 6-2.
The tournament, being staged without fans present, is the first in the United States since the coronavirus pandemic shut down both major tennis tours in early March.
“It was a really calm atmosphere, really chill,” Serena Williams said following her first action since the Fed Cup in early February. “I can’t say I disliked it. It was different. I’ve been through so many things in my career. I think I won today because I was calm for once, so that was really helpful.”
Other first-round winners Tuesday were Cori Gauff, CiCi Bellis, Shelby Rogers, Canada’s Leylah Fernandez, Russia’s Anna Blinkova, Switzerland’s Jil Teichmann, Belarus’ Olga Govortsova and Kazakhstan’s Yulia Putintseva.
Top-seeded Simona Halep of Romania squandered six match points late in the first set but still wound up with a 6-1, 1-6, 7-6 (3) win over Slovenia’s Polona Hercog in the first round of the Czech Republic event.
Halep managed just one ace while serving eight double faults. The match featured 12 breaks of serve, six per player.
Other Tuesday winners included second-seeded Petra Martic of Croatia and third-seeded Elise Mertens of Belgium. Fifth-seeded Ekaterina Alexandrova of Russia, sixth-seeded Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova of Russia, seventh-seeded Barbora Strycova of the Czech Republic and ninth-seeded Anastasija Sevastova of Latvia all lost in straight sets.
–Field Level Media