LEXINGTON, KENTUCKY – Serena Williams was calm in a return more dramatic than some might have expected — even after a long layoff.
Williams needed to rally to win in her comeback following a six-month layoff, beating unseeded American Bernarda Pera 4-6, 6-4, 6-1 in Tuesday’s first round of the Top Seed Open.
Williams advanced to a second-round showdown Thursday against older sister Venus, who dispatched Victoria Azarenka 6-3, 6-2. The two will meet for the 31st time in a match that figures to be emotionally and physically challenging for both of them.
“From one Grand Slam (winner), one No. 1 to another,” said Venus Williams, who’s 12-18 against her sister. “It’s been quite the draw for me but, honestly, it’s perfect because I don’t play forever so I want to play the best players. And I think I got my wish. Here we go.”
Serena first had to clear some athletic hurdles against Pera in the opening match at center court.
Looking to return to form following the break caused by the coronavirus pandemic, the 23-time Grand Slam champion labored to avoid her 14th loss