Cookie consent

We use cookies to improve your experience on this website. By continuing to browse our site you agree to our use of cookies. Tell me more | Cookie preferences

Serena Williams victorious on return to competitive tennis in Miami

Serena Williams is the No. 1 seed in Miami and has won the tournament on five occasions.

Story highlights

  • Serena Williams beats Italian Flavia Pennetta at Sony Open in Miami
  • World No. 1 was playing her first competitive match since mid-February
  • Fourth-seed and defending champion Agnieszka Radwanska into round three
  • China's Li Na of China and Petra Kvitova of Czech Republic also through

Serena Williams shook off any rustiness after a month-long break from competitive tennis as she launched her quest for a sixth Miami title with a straight sets victory over Italian Flavia Pennetta.

The world No. 1 hasn't played since losing to Victoria Azarenka in the final of the Qatar Open on February 17 but made light work of her unseeded opponent winning 6-1 6-1.

Williams, a 15-time grand slam winner, pulled out of the Dubai Tennis Championships after her defeat in Doha complaining of a back injury but looked in good touch as she raced to victory in just under 80 minutes.

"I think I missed a few shots, but only because I think I was off footwork-wise," she told reporters. "But it's always just good just to win a match and stay in the tournament and keep going.

Read: Radwanska girls' grand slam ambition

"I felt like I should be putting the balls away for my opponent but she was so quick and she was running every ball down."

Serena Williams' rise to greatness

    Just Watched

    Serena Williams' rise to greatness

Serena Williams' rise to greatness 07:37
PLAY VIDEO
 Radwanska: Playing Serena was tough

    Just Watched

    Radwanska: Playing Serena was tough

Radwanska: Playing Serena was tough 04:36
PLAY VIDEO
Rafael Nadal returns to the court

    Just Watched

    Rafael Nadal returns to the court

Rafael Nadal returns to the court 06:19
PLAY VIDEO
Chris Evert: Grooming future champions

    Just Watched

    Chris Evert: Grooming future champions

Chris Evert: Grooming future champions 04:22
PLAY VIDEO

As for coming into the tournament as the world's best player she said: "It always feels better when you're No. 1. There's nothing like when they announce you and they say, the No. 1 player in the world.

"It definitely gives you a little bit more confidence ... a little more pep in your step. I have a lot of matches to play. If I can just stay relaxed -- I really feel like I can do it, but, you know, I'm sometimes my own worst enemy."

Defending champion and No. 4 seed Agnieszka Radwanska, from Poland, breezed into round three with a 6-3 6-2 victory over Taiwan's Hsieh Su-Wei.

"I was happy to have a quick match," Radwanska was quoted as saying on the WTA Tour's official website. "The first match is always a little bit tough and tricky, especially after Indian Wells, where we had a little bit of different conditions.

"It was a really special tournament for me because I was really playing a lot of good matches against top players and not even losing a set.

"I definitely have great memories from here. And the final was a very good match. Hopefully I can play the same level of tennis this year. I will do everything to hold the trophy again."

China's Li Na, seeded fifth, was also making a return after spending six weeks on the sidelines with an ankle injury but she eased past Dutchwoman Kiki Bertens 6-3 6-1.

"I wasn't nervous before the match today, I was excited," Li told the WTA Tour website. "For the last six or seven weeks I haven't played any tournaments so I was happy to win my first match after such a long time.

"There were a lot of fans there to support me today, I was like, 'Wow!' My game was pretty good today, I followed the plan of what I should do. I just had to believe in myself that I could do it."

Petra Kvitova, the 2011 Wimbledon champion defeated China's Peng Shuai 5-7 6-2 6-2.

      Tennis

    • Rafael Nadal of Spain watches the ball in his match against Martin Klizan of Slovakia during during day seven of the China Open at the National Tennis Center on October 3, 2014 in Beijing, China.

      Rafael Nadal's body might be giving him a few problems, but his mind remains as strong as ever. Will the Spaniard add to his haul of 14 grand slam titles?
    • LONDON, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 17: Wimbledon champion Andy Murray and his long time girlfriend Kim Sears arrive at Buckingham Palace on October 17, in London, England. Murray will become an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) and receive his medal from the Duke of Cambridge. (Photo by John Stillwell - WPA Pool/Getty Images)

      The Scot has served up a few changes to his support team in 2014 but there's one person who isn't going anywhere -- his new fiancée Kim Sears.
    • Despite being forced to retire at the age of 24 due to health problems, Lacoste remained in the game and went on start the "Lacoste" brand in 1933, which specialised in tennis products. The inspiration for the company's logo came from his nickname as a player, "le crocodile."

      His distinctive crocodile logo is seen on clothing all over the world, but Rene Lacoste also left a lasting legacy in the development of tennis.
    • Serena Williams of the US holds the US Open trophy after defeating Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark during their US Open 2014 women's singles finals match at the USTA Billie Jean King National Center September 7, 2014 in New York. AFP PHOTO/Stan HONDA (Photo credit should read STAN HONDA/AFP/Getty Images)

      Serena Williams is without peer in the modern women's game and now she is on a par with two American tennis legends from the past.
    • American tennis player and golfer Althea Gibson (right) receives a kiss from compatriot Darlene Hard, whom she beat in two sets to become the first black woman to win the Women's Singles Finals at Wimbledon.

      Over the course of her remarkable life, Althea Gibson was many things to many people -- but it was tennis where she really left her mark.
    • "I didn't cry once when I practiced in front of the mirror," says Martin Emmrich. But the nerves kicked in when he got down on one knee on court.
    • LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - JULY 03: Tennis / Frauen: Wimbledon 2004, London; Finale; Siegerin Maria SHARAPOVA / RUS 03.07.04. (Photo by Bongarts/Bongarts/Getty Images)

      It's 10 years since a teenage Maria Sharapova became the darling of Wimbledon's hallowed Center Court, launching herself as a star.
    • Five-time grand slam champion Martina Hingis has followed her mom into a coaching role, setting up a new tennis academy in Barcelona, Spain.