Serena Williams makes winning return to Grand Slam action at Roland Garros

Serena Williams makes winning return to Grand Slam action at Roland Garros

American Serena Williams made a successful return to Grand Slam tennis with a 7-6 (7-4) 6-4 win over Kristyna Pliskova at the French Open.

She'll now face No. 17 Ashleigh Barty, of Australia, in the second round on Thursday.

Williams, the victor of an Open era record 23 Grand Slam titles, had arrived at Roland Garros with just four matches under her belt in 2018.

Competing as a mother for the first time at a major - and only about nine months after giving birth to her daughter, Alexis Olympia, then dealing with postpartum complications - Williams served up 13 aces and broke Pliskova's serve three consecutive times to cruise to victory.

The first glimpse of Williams as she prepared for her comeback came in an exhibition in December against 2017 French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko. The younger of the Williams sister, who lost in the first round at Grand Slam level only once in 2012, when the defeat against Virginie Razzano persuaded her to start a brand new partnership with Patrick Mouratoglou, gave Pliskova the fourth first-round defeat in as many appearances here. It wasn't easy but I have been training really hard.

"I mean, for me, you want to play the big names and you want to test yourself against the best, and I think any opportunity you can do that is good", she told reporters.

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Winning 64 percent of the points available off her first serve proved the ideal platform for Williams to take the set, per the tournament's official website.

In the men's singles draw, Sam Querrey is one of several USA players to make it to the second round. But all the same Serena was too strong, too good, simply too Serena for her world 70-ranked opponent.

"I feel good. I'm just happy to have won a match here", Williams said. She's ranked No. 451 coming into the French Open.

"Even though we don't see everyday chatter, because she stays in different hotel, and so having a different plan totally than me", Karolina said. Her baby was born on September 1, and Williams married Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian in November.

The very first game featured an ace at 112 m.p.h., and when it ended with Pliskova netting a backhand, the chair umpire intoned, "Jeu, Madame Williams", - French for "Game, Mrs. Williams, " a change from the "mademoiselle" officials use for unmarried female players.

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