Wednesday, June 15, 2011
American Serena Williams wins the first match of her return to tennis at the AEGON International Eastbourne, Great Britain
EASTBOURNE, United Kingdom — Playing for the first time in nearly a year, Serena Williams overcame a slow start to reach the Eastbourne second round on Tuesday by beating Tsvetana Pironkova 1-6, 6-3, 6-4.
The 13-time Grand Slam champion, whose last match was her victory in the Wimbledon final last July, returned to the court at the grass warm-up tournament after battling a foot injury and blood clots in her lungs.
"It wasn't an easy match but more than anything, I wanted to win," said Williams.
"She's an unbelievable player and beat (Serena's sister) Venus (Williams) at Wimbledon last year. When I saw the draw I thought 'Oh my god.'
"I'm a little rusty but I enjoy being back on the grass."
Top seed Vera Zvonareva defeated British wild card Heather Watson 6-3, 6-3 and will next play Williams in a repeat of last summer's Wimbledon final.
The Williams win was the second success for the family this week, after sister Venus advanced here on Monday after not playing for almost five months due to an abdominal injury.
"I could have done a lot of things better, but that's expected. I'll continue to try to do the things that I need to do," said Serena.
Williams said that her mental approach to the game still needs some work after her long absence.
"It's not as strong as it was when I left, but I'm hoping it will get better with every day and every match," she said.
"I definitely think I was nervous. I think I was even more anxious, more than anything, but there was no need for me to be anxious."
Photos Getty Images