Serena Williams Picks Up Win After Four Months on Sidelines


Published on January 3 2017 6:21 am
Last Updated on January 3 2017 6:21 am


Serena Williams mixed flashes of form and occasional bouts of frustration as she ended four months on the sidelines with a 6-3, 6-4 win over Pauline Parmentier on Tuesday in the first round of the ASB Classic.

Top-seeded Williams had to wait an extra day to make her first appearance of 2017 because rain forced the postponement of her first-round match Monday.

It was wind rather than rain that troubled Williams on Tuesday as a swirling breeze on the open-air center court at the Auckland Tennis Center made it difficult to serve.

She took 74 minutes to beat No. 69-ranked Parmentier, serving eight aces -- including one on match point -- but also prolonging the match with a series of unforced errors, including four double faults.

"You always feel rusty going out there for your first match," Williams said. "I definitely felt that rust but mentally I knew how to get it back and get in there.

"It was so windy out there, but I guess in the wind you really have to be ready to move your feet, so I went to what my coach told me and I was like, 'You know how to play in the wind, you've done it many times before,' so I just tried to adjust to it."

Williams made a shaky start, dropping serve in an opening game before Parmentier held her own serve to love. Williams seemed to find some form and confidence in the third game, which included a booming winner from a cross-court forehand. She broke Parmentier's serve in the sixth and eighth games and held comfortably, serving out the set in only 29 minutes.

There were signs of frustration from Williams as the wind picked up and she struggled to put her first serve in play. When she did, she won 80 percent of first serve points.

She broke Parmentier in the third game of the second set, then immediately lost her own serve. Williams struggled to hold serve in the sixth game, saving three break points, but she signaled her intention to finish it off quickly with two powerful winners that allowed her to break again in the seventh game.