Serena Williams earned her first victory in more than three months by beating 17-year-old qualifier Lisa Pigato 6-3, 6-2 Monday in the primary spherical of the Emilia-Romagna Open.
Williams, who accepted a wild-card invitation for the Parma event after shedding her opening match on the Italian Open final week, dominated after dropping her serve in the opening recreation.
“I’m just starting to feel more comfortable. I’ve always felt super comfortable on the clay and this year has been a little more difficult than normal,” mentioned Williams, who served six aces. “I think it was because of the long hiatus I’ve had (from) the clay.”
Williams hadn’t received since beating Simona Halep in the Australian Open quarterfinals in February. She was eradicated from the yr’s first Grand Slam event by Naomi Osaka in the semifinals.
After a while off, Williams then misplaced in straight units in Rome to Nadia Podoroska, a French Open semifinalist final yr.
Williams is getting ready for Roland Garros, which begins in two weeks. Her earlier win on clay got here in the primary spherical of final yr’s event in Paris.
It was the primary WTA tour match for Pigato and the 1,001st for Williams, a 23-time Grand Slam champion.
Pigato requested Williams to pose for a photograph together with her on courtroom instantly after the match ended.
“It was really cool and gutsy,” Williams mentioned. “She’s going to look back (in) years and be like, ‘Well, this was my first match.’ I wish I had done that with my first match, it would have been really cool.”
Ranked No. 572, Pigato received the ladies’ doubles title eventually yr’s French Open with Eleonora Alvisi.
Williams will subsequent face 68th-ranked Katerina Siniakova, who eradicated Danish teenager Clara Tauson 6-1, 6-3.
Also, former U.S. Open champion Sloane Stephens beat Catherine McNally 7-6 (4), 6-4 and Anna Karolina Schmiedlova rallied previous Venus Williams 5-7, 6-2, 6-2.