Serena Williams shrugged off the absence of followers to develop a winning return from her six-month coronavirus layoff on Tuesday, defeating lowly ranked Bernarda Pera in three sets at the WTA High Seed Initiate tournament in Kentucky.
Williams, who sooner than Tuesday had now now not played a aggressive sport since a Fed Cup look in February, came from in the relieve of to defeat American world amount 60 Pera 4-6, 6-4, 6-1 in two hours and 15 minutes at the High Seed Tennis Membership in Lexington.
The old world amount 1’s first spherical victory played out to an empty enviornment. This week’s tournament — the principle WTA match in the US since the Covid-19 pandemic — is taking relate without spectators.
Williams, 38, later revealed that the sedate atmosphere had suited her sport.
“It changed into once a terribly peaceable atmosphere, it changed into once the truth is relax,” Williams acknowledged.
“I will’t yell I disliked it. I did now not mind it in any respect. I have been by so many issues in my occupation and this changed into once entirely diversified. I mediate I received this day because I changed into once peaceable for once in my occupation.
“Roughly jogs my memory of junior days. Something nostalgic about that. I more or much less loved it.”
The 23-time Vast Slam singles champion looked as if it would be flirting with an early exit in the second procedure, but recovered from 0-40 down at 4-4 sooner than keeping and at final winning the procedure.
“I intellectual knew I could maybe presumably well stop greater,” Williams acknowledged. “It changed into once an sharp sport. I intellectual had to salvage old to her sport a little bit bit. She played the truth is neatly.”
Williams will now play either sister Venus or Victoria Azarenka, who face every diversified later Tuesday, in the second spherical.
Pera had seized an early attend in the principle procedure, breaking Williams to steal a 3-2 lead sooner than keeping for the relaxation of the procedure to grab 6-4.
Williams changed into once quickly in anxiousness on her service sport in the second procedure, falling 0-40 in the opening sport sooner than battling relieve to care for.
Williams moved real into a 3-1 lead with a destroy of Pera’s attend in the fourth sport, but her Croatia-born opponent hit relieve in an instant with a destroy of her bring together sooner than keeping to level at 3-3.
With the next two games going to attend, Williams looked as if it would be in anxiousness after falling 0-40 down in the ninth sport. However she dug deep to care for for a 5-4 lead after which broke for the procedure when Pera despatched a forehand return wide.
The momentum spilled into the deciding procedure, and one other misdirected forehand from Pera handed Williams a destroy to pass real into a 3-1 lead.
One other destroy took her real into a 5-1 lead and she or he closed out the grab by keeping to enjoy, wrapping up victory with a unfavorable-court forehand that left Pera stranded.
This week’s WTA tournament is the principle to be staged in the US since the Covid-19 pandemic shut down the tennis season earlier this year.