Serena Williams is back in the winner’s circle for the first time since February.
Williams worked over 17-year-old Italian qualifier Lisa Pigato 6-3, 6-2 on Monday in the first round of the Emilia-Romagna Open at Parma, Italy.
The match ended in 67 minutes.
Entered as a wild card following a loss in the first round of the Italian Open, Williams easily advanced to set up a match with Katerina Siniakova of the Czech Republic.
Simona Halep was Williams’ last victim in the quarterfinals of the Australian Open in February, a span of three months between wins.
Pigato is ranked outside the top 500 and was making her WTA debut.
Williams hadn’t played on clay court other than Roland Garros and Rome, but said she accepted the wild-card entry to prepare for the French Open in two weeks.
“I’ve played everywhere, so now I can add this to the list,” Williams said. “The atmosphere is great, and it’s cool to be here.”
Her sister Venus Williams, also entered as a wild card, was unable to advance, falling 5-7, 6-2, 6-2 to Anna-Karolina Schmiedlova of the Slovakia. Venus Williams remained without a victory on clay this season.
Also Monday, No. 7 Sara Sorribes Tormo of Spain earned a 6-4, 6-2 victory over American Bernarda Pera, while No. 8 Caroline Garcia of France was a 6-4, 6-4 winner over Argentina’s Paula Ormaechea.
Other winners Monday included Camila Giorgi of Italy, Katerina Sinakova of the Czech Republic, Martina Di Giuseppe of Italy and American Sloane Stephens.
No. 2 Yulia Putintseva of Kazakhstan advanced to the second round at Belgrade, Serbia, with a 4-6, 6-2, 6-1 victory over Slovenia’s Kaja Juvan, while No. 3 Shuai Zhang of China was upset 6-2, 1-6, 7-6 by Maria Camila Osorio Serrano of Colombia.
Spain’s Cristina Bucsa pulled off a 3-6, 6-4, 6-1 upset of No. 8 Danka Kovinic of Montenegro, while Canada’s Leylah Fernandez earned a 7-5, 6-1 victory over Polona Hercog of Slovenia.
–Field Level Media