Serena Williams earns her first win since returning from injury in Round 1 of the National Bank Open

Serena Williams earned her first win of the season Monday at the National Bank Women’s Open, beating Nuria Parrizas-Diaz 6-3, 6-4.

It is only the second tournament of the season for Williams, who returned to competition at Wimbledon just over a month ago.

The 23-time Grand Slam champion fell in the first round to Harmony Tan in three sets at the All England Club.

Prior to that, she last competed at the 2021 Wimbledon tournament, where she retired midway through her first match due to a hamstring tear sustained after slipping on the grass surface.

Williams will then face the winner between Belinda Bencic and Tereza Martincova.

The 40-year-old Williams started strong, winning the first two games with relative ease.

Parrizas-Diaz tied 2-2, but despite Williams struggling at times, the 31-year-old Spaniard couldn’t find enough pace to get ahead.

Tied at 3-3, it was Williams who found his groove, mixing solid touch with his signature power and putting blow after blow out of Parrizas-Diaz’s reach.

Dominant serve

Trailing 5-3, Williams struggled to clinch the set point, with 57th-placed Parrizas-Diaz battling to send the game back to two.

But Parrizas-Diaz struggled with Williams’ serve as the American scored on three of her four aces in that span. The last of them prompted Parrizas-Diaz to hit a high shot that allowed Williams to fire one in the opposite direction, well out of reach, to win the set 6-3.

In the second set, Parrizas-Diaz opened things up, winning the opener and then moving up 2-1.

Williams then increased the intensity level.

After taking the advantage away from the Spaniard, Williams went all out to show flashes of herself, taking the lead with a mix of touch shots and powerful forehands in a long rally, later equalizing at 2-2.

Williams’ effort had fans on their feet screaming, and some even bowing.

After the players traded wins for a while, Williams snapped that run when she turned a 4-3 deficit into a 5-4 lead, continually finding ways to rally when she was behind. .

Williams won the final game to win the deciding set 6-4.

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