Toronto Open: Serena Joins Rybakina and Halep in Second Round

In addition to Simona Halep and Wimbledon champion Elena Rybakina, three-time champion Serena Williams advanced to the second round of the Toronto Open on Monday with a 6-3, 6-4 victory against Spain’s Nuria Parrizas Diaz.

Williams was obliged to put in a lot of effort during a nearly two-hour encounter played in hot and muggy circumstances in her second singles contest since making a comeback at Wimbledon in June following a year-long sabbatical from the competition.

“Mentally I feel I’m getting there. I’m not where I normally am and I’m not where I want to be,” Williams told reporters.

“Physically I feel much better in practice, it’s just like getting that to the court. But literally, I’m the kind of person who it just takes one or two things and then it clicks. So I’m just waiting on that to click.”

On her fourth set point, Williams won the match with a brilliant smash that Parrizas Diaz had no chance of recovering.

It was much closer in the second set, and Williams did well to hold serve in a physically taxing 18-minute game in which she resisted four break opportunities to tie the match at 4-4 before winning her first singles match since the 2021 French Open.

“It’s just one win, you know, it takes a lot. But I was happy, like I said, to have a win,” said Williams. “It’s been a very long time. I forgot what it felt like.”

The Olympic champion Belinda Bencic, the 12th seed, or the Czech Tereza Martincova will be Williams’ next opponent.

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