Williams fights back to win first match in return to WTA tour

Serena Williams
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Serena Williams won her first WTA tournament match since the Fed Cup back in February due to the pandemic, the Top Seed Open in Lexington, Ky., Willimas hadn’t played an organized tennis match on Tuesday, August 11, 2020.

Williams, a 38-year-old, 23-time Grand Slam singles champion looking rusty for the first part of the match, top-seeded Williams stormed back to beat Bernarda Pera compatriot, 4-6, 6-4, 6-1 in a first-round match.

With the win over the 60th-ranked Pera, Serena advanced to play the winner between her sister Venus and Victoria Azarenka.

The winner of the event receives $25,000, a far cry from the big purses Williams is accustomed to playing for. Still, she is at this event for the match play, not the prize money.

There were no fans in attendance due to the pandemic, although Williams did have her husband Alexis Ohanian, daughter Olympia, and coach Patrick Mouratoglou in the stands. Williams didn’t appear to consult much with Mouratoglou during the match.

Serena was broken at love in the fifth game of the match to go down 2-3 and Pera served out the set for an early lead.

In the second set, Williams fought off triple-break point to hold serve for 5-4 and then broke Pera with a forehand winner into the corner to even the match at one-set all. That appeared to turn the tide in her favor.

Williams got an early break in the third set and then secured another break for a 5-1 lead.

Several of the top women will skip this year’s Open, including world No. 1 Ash Barty, No. 5 Elina Svitolina, No. 10 Osaka and possibly No. 2 Simona Halep.

Still, the field will be strong and Williams will again have her hands full.

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