Serena Williams, 36, beats Zarina Diyas on return to Indian Wells

Serena Williams won her first game on the WTA Tour in straight set after 14 months away from tennis

Former world number one Serena Williams won her first singles match on the WTA Tour for nearly 14 months as she returned after the birth of her child.

Williams, 36, reached the second round at Indian Wells with a 7-5 6-3 victory over Kazakhstan’s Zarina Diyas.



The American, a 23-time Grand Slam singles champion, was given a standing ovation as she walked onto court.

It was her first singles match on Tour since she won the 2017 Australian Open while pregnant.

Her husband Alexis Ohanian was in the crowd.

Williams gave birth to daughter Alexis Olympia on 1 September.

She says post-childbirth health complications – including blood clots in her lungs – were almost fatal.

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Williams missed this year’s Australian Open because she did not consider herself ready for the tournament.

Williams did not fluff too many lines on her latest opening night, BBC tennis correspondent Russell Fuller says.

Given she had not played a competitive singles match for 404 days, this was an impressive return.

Diyas showed plenty of resilience, saving five break points – but crucially not a sixth – in the first set, and twice breaking back when Williams hit the front in the second.

Williams’ serve proved a strong foundation, especially in the first set, and there were some powerful and sweetly struck winners amid some inevitable rust.

The best part of 10,000 people were in Stadium Court 1 to watch Williams’ return. One was her sister Venus, a potential third-round opponent.