Wednesday 23rd August, 2017
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'Rusty' Serena wins first match since September

'Rusty' Serena wins first match since September

Serena Williams won in her first match since September as she breezed past Pauline Parmentier at the ASB Classic in Auckland.

The American missed the final two months of the 2016 season with a shoulder injury and has not been on court since the US Open but, despite being troubled by windy conditions and some early rust, she brushed off the cobwebs to win 6-3 6-4.

Williams struggled initially as France's Parmentier broke her first service game and then held to love. The 35-year-old, using Auckland to warm up for the Australian Open, double-faulted four times as she had trouble adjusting to the swirling wind.

However, Williams grew steadily stronger and she fought back from 3-1 down to win five successive games to take the opening set.

Both players suffered service breaks at the start of the second set before Williams broke again to go 4-3 up.

She then came from three break points down to claim the crucial eighth game and went on to take the match in 75 minutes.

"It's my first match back in several months and I was playing a really good player," Williams said. "This wind was getting to me. Every day I've practised here there was no wind and of course today I played and it's so windy. It wasn't fun, it was interesting.

Eugenie Bouchard said Serena Williams is the greatest women's tennis player of all time and says she's looking forward to the Australian Open.

"I'm feeling like I'm trying to get out there, and that every match counts. I've never played in front of you guys so this is really special for my career. I've never been here, so thanks for making me feel so welcome", Serena said.

Third seed Caroline Wozniacki also got her season off to a winning start, seeing off Naomi Gibbs 6-2 6-0, while fourth seed Barbora Strycova was too good.