Job done: Serena Williams makes powerful start on ASB Classic return

Serena Williams followed up her impressive display in the doubles with a comprehensive first-round singles victory over Italian Camila Giorgi.

Her opponent changed at the last minute and it was her first singles match for four months, but Serena Williams made light work of her first-round match at the ASB Classic.

After having to face Camila Giorgi instead of Svetlana Kuznetsova, who withdrew due to a viral illness, the American made a powerful return to action.

Serena won 6-3 6-2 in 68 minutes and her serve was not broken in the win over Giorgi, who had given her a scare at the 2018 Wimbledon quarterfinals in their last meeting.

After winning with another strong display alongside close friend Caroline Wozniacki in the first round of the doubles too, Serena has to be happy with her first two days in Auckland.

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Starting a season where she hopes to finally reach Margaret Court’s all-time Grand Slam record, Serena had not played in four months coming into the ASB Classic, with her last match being the US Open final defeat to Bianca Andreescu.

But two strong displays in windy conditions have her back in the groove. In the singles, she will play Christina McHale in round two, with Coco Gauff a possible opponent in the quarterfinals.

Serena Williams

Serena Williams (Photo by Greg Bowker/Getty Images)

And her doubles adventure with Wozniacki will continue with a last-eight tie against Johanna Larsson and Caroline Dolehide.

Speaking to the WTA Tour, Serena felt her doubles match had helped when it came to making her singles comeback against Giorgi. So early in the season, she was very happy with how it had gone.

“I definitely think the doubles helped me a lot, especially with my serve.

“I served pretty decent, considering the conditions. So it’s really been helpful.

“I thought it was solid, technically my second match of the year. I spent a long time off from tournament play, match play, so solid is pretty good. It’s a great start to build on.

“It’s definitely not easy [to get the rhythm back after a break]. It’s always hard to play a first round match early in the season.”

Wozniacki also made a good start to the singles, thrashing Paige Hourigan 6-1 6-0 as the Dane plays the penultimate event of her tennis career.

American star Amanda Anisimova won in straight sets against Kateryna Kozlova and defending champion Julia Goerges also made it through.

Petra Martic, the second seed behind Serena at this tournament, only just made it to the last 16 by winning the deciding set against Usue Maitane Arconada 6-4.

Eugenie Bouchard is another player in round two after winning her first full WTA Tour match in 11 months.

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Tougher tests are to come in the singles and doubles, but it is a case of so far, so good for Serena Williams and Caroline Wozniacki at the ASB Classic.

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