Serena Williams returned to action for the first time since the COVID-19 outbreak upended the tennis calendar, defeating Bernarda Pera to set up a second-round clash with sister Venus.
The top seed will face Venus at the Top Seed Open in Lexington after her unseeded sister beat former World No.1 Victoria Azarenka 6-3 6-2 in her first-round match on Tuesday.
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Williams made a wobbly start in the first set against fellow American Pera but quickly found her footing, firing off seven aces and saving 11 of 13 break points to win 4-6, 6-4, 6-1 later telling reporters she was pleased with her competitiveness.
She later claimed the calm surroundings, without a crowd, suited her game.
"It was a really calm atmosphere, it was really chill," Williams said.
"I can't say I disliked it. I didn't mind it at all. I've been through so many things in my career and this was totally different. I think I won today because I was calm for once in my career.
"Kind of reminds me of junior days. Something nostalgic about that. I kind of enjoyed it."
Williams said her opponent really pushed her upon her comeback.
"I just knew I could do better," Williams said. "It was an interesting game. I just had to get used to her game a little bit. She played really well."
Williams bids for record Grand Slam title
The Top Seed Open, the first WTA Tour tournament in the US since the COVID-19 outbreak halted play, provided a taste of what is to come for the 38-year-old American as she bids for a record-equalling 24th Grand Slam title in Flushing Meadows, with empty, silent stands taking the place of roaring crowds.
"Being in New York will be a little different because there's this massive stadium," she added.
American teenage phenomenon Coco Gauff also progressed by beating compatriot Caroline Dolehide in straight sets, setting up a clash with 22-year-old second seed Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus.