Serena Williams delighted to be back, awaits ‘fierce’ Venus in second round

Serena Williams fist pump

It was a smooth return to clay-court action for Serena Williams, but she knows she can expect a “fierce” second-round contest when she takes on sister Venus.

Serena made her 2019 clay-court debut at the Italian Open on Monday with a 6-4, 6-2 victory over Swede Rebecca Peterson.

It was the 23-time Grand Slam winner’s first match since March as she struggled to shake off a knee injury she picked up at the Miami Open.

However, she pretty solid against Peterson.

“I felt good, I wasn’t sure how it was going to feel,” Williams said. “It’s been a while, I haven’t played a ton of matches this year, not by choice, just by force.

“I really, really, actually desperately wanted to be on the tour and to be playing, but it hasn’t been able to work out.

“It felt good to finally be back out. Hopefully I’ll be able to keep it up.

“I got here pretty early really, I wanted to get used to the conditions and ‘real clay’ and it was good I did that.”

Venus had a tougher encounter against Elise Mertens as she needed three sets before winning 7-5, 3-6, 7-6 (7-4).

“We’re just as fierce, Venus is just as fierce. We both really want to get some match play. We’ll both do the best that we can,” Serena said.

She added: “We play each other a lot. Seems like every tournament nowadays we meet early. Yeah, it is what it is.”

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