Serena Williams up and running on clay as Johanna Konta also advances at Italian Open

Serena Williams in action

Serena Williams kicked off her clay-court season with a solid win over Rebecca Peterson at the Italian Open as Johanna Konta also got her campaign in Rome off the ground.

Four-time Rome champion Williams hasn’t played any competitive tennis since she withdrew from her third-round clash at the Miami Open in March, but there were not too many signs of rustiness as she beat the Swede 6-4, 6-2 in one hour and 16 minutes.

Peterson had the early initiative as she broke in game four, but the 23-time Grand Slam winner won the next four games while she dominated the second set courtesy of breaks in games three and six.

There could be an all-Williams second-round clash as sister Venus Williams takes on Elise Mertens later in the day with the winner facing Serena.

British No 1 Johanna Konta also made an excellent start as she secured a 6-4, 6-1 win over Alison Riske in one hour and 30 minutes.

Konta broke once in the first set and three times in the second to set up a clash against seventh seed Sloane Stephens, who had a bye in the first round.

Two-time Grand Slam winner Garbine Muguruza, meanwhile, showed signs of form as she beat Zheng Saisai 6-4, 6-3 while Dominica Cibulkova earned a clash against world No 1 Naomi Osaka with a 6-2, 6-3 win over Aliaksandra Sasnovich.

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