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By Erik Gudris | Monday, January 2, 2017

Serena Williams Auckland First Round

Serena Williams claimed a straights sets victory in Auckland in her first match since last year’s US Open.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Serena Williams got off to a winning start in her first competitive match since September of last year at the ASB Classic in Auckland, New Zealand.

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Williams, the top seed, is playing for the first time ever at the WTA International event. The current World No. 2 posted a straight sets win over France’s Pauline Parmentier in their first round meeting.

“It’s my first match back in several months. I was playing a really good player today,” Williams said after. “The wind was getting to me. Everyday I’ve practiced here has been no wind and of course today it was windy, so that was good. Actually it wasn’t good. It was interesting.”

Auckland is the first tournament for Williams after her semifinal loss to Karolina Pliskova at last year’s US Open. Due to a shoulder injury, Williams skipped the Asian swing and then withdrew from the year-end championships in Singapore.

While some rust was expected in Williams’ game, overall it was a good performance despite having not played for several months.

Williams, who is starting her 21st year on the WTA tour, struggled in her opening service game. She failed to make a first serve and eventually handed the game to her opponent. Parmentier showed off strong serving herself and enjoyed an early lead.

Frustrated by the windy conditions, Williams tightened her hair into a bun and tightened up her game. Hitting with more authority, Williams soon broke back and then took her first ever lead for 4-3.

Williams broke Parmentier again and then in the next game, with the help of two aces, served out the set 6-3.

Williams took early control in the second set. Ripping a huge forehand return winner, Williams earned an early service break lead for 2-1. But a backhand error from Williams in the next game allowed Parmentier to break back for 2-all. Williams, after another testing service game, held on to her serve for 3-2.

Parmentier was able to match Williams’ power at times, but soon succumbed as she served a double fault while down break point. That gave Williams a 5-3 lead and she soon served for the match a few games later.

With a final big serve, Williams closed out the 6-3, 6-4 win.

In the on-court interview, Wiillams shared a funny exchange when asked about her nails.


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