Serena Williams found her power game after a sluggish start as she overcame qualifier Camila Giorgi to open her 2020 season with a straight-sets victory at the Auckland WTA Classic on Tuesday.
With an eye on the Australian Open later in the month, the 38-year-old worked her way into a blistering performance that proved too much for the 1.7 metre (5ft 6in) Italian.
She described her first match since losing the US Open final in September as “solid” rather than spectacular.
“Spent a long time off from tournament play, match play, so solid is pretty good. It’s a great start to build on,” she said after sealing her 6-3, 6-2 victory with her eighth ace against the 99th-ranked Giorgi.
“It’s really good that I still have some power left in my arms and my legs.”
Williams, originally drawn to play two-time Grand Slam winner Svetlana Kuznetsova before the Russian pulled out due to a virus, said her preparation had been helped by playing doubles with Caroline Wozniacki the previous evening which allowed her to adapt to the blustery Auckland weather.
“I knew it was going to be really tough but I think the doubles really helped. I got to come out here and play a little bit in these conditions and get used to them.”