Serena Williams wins Slam return at French Open

Serena Williams came through her first match at the French Open and showed that her remarkable mental strength has not left her, though there remain questions over exactly how fit she is.

Williams edged 70th-ranked Kristyna Pliskova of the Czech Republic 7-6 (4), 6-4 at Roland Garros on Tuesday (local time) and will now face Australian Ashleigh Barty in the second round.

Competing in her first Grand Slam since winning the 2017 Australian Open while pregnant, and in one of few tournaments since delivering her daughter last September, Williams defeated Kristyna Pliskova, 7-6 (7-4), 6-4, in her first-round match at Roland Garros on Tuesday.

After losing to her sister Venus Williams in the third round at the BNP Paribas Open and to Naomi Osaka in the first round of the Miami Open, Williams chose to focus on training instead of playing more tournaments.

Pliskova grabbed the mini-break and went into a 3-0 lead before the veteran hit back to win the next six and clinch the advantage.

Barty, just 17 then and prior to an 18-month hiatus from tennis, has since established herself in the world's top 20 - and Williams is super wary of the threat the Australian poses.

Although she rescued the game, Pliskova still faced the prospect of Williams serving for the match, an opening the latter eventually took-despite being taken to deuce four times-to progress to Round 2.

Williams owns 23 Grand Slam singles titles. "It's really fun. Although we designed it way before the movie, but still, it kind of reminds me of that".

"Not just for her but for the other women who could play her in the first round".

Her first point was a dropshot to chase, and it was the initial indication that her movement was definitely improved from her performances in America.

The three-time champion fell 0-2 behind in the second set and was forced to retrieve another break to level at 4-4.

"She's continuing her unbelievable rise since she came back and been so focused on tennis".

After the match, Williams spoke about life as a working mother.

Williams, 36, said that after delivering a child: "First and foremost, you have to get your core back, which is hard, because it literally spreads when you have a baby". Two years has been a really long time since my last match on clay but I feel good.

Dressed in a skintight, all-in-one black bodysuit, broken up by a vivid scarlet belt, Serena captivated the French crowd from the start of the contest to its 7-6 (4) 6-4 conclusion. "I had a lot of problems with my blood clots, and, God, I don't know how many I have had in the past 12 months, " she said.

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