Serena Williams wins first match in more than three months

May 17 (UPI) — Serena Williams defeated 17-year-old foe Lisa Pigato in straight sets in the first round of the Emilia-Romagna Open on Monday in Parma, Italy, for her first win in more than three months.

Williams beat Pigato 6-3, 6-2 in one hour, eight minutes. Her previous win came against Simona Halep in the 2021 Australian Open quarterfinals Feb. 16 in Melbourne.

“The first game, she [Pigato] played really good, and I needed to adjust to get back,” Williams aid in her on-court interview.

“It was a bit of both and figuring out her game as well.”

Williams accepted a wildcard entry into the Emilia-Romagna Open. She said she needed more matches on the clay court surface after her loss to Nadia Podoroska at the Italian Open on Wednesday in Rome.

The Emilia-Romagna Open is one of several clay court tournaments tennis stars use to prepare for the annual French Open. The second Grand Slam of the season is from May 30 to June 12 in Paris.

Williams dropped the first serve Monday, but recovered and dominated to win in her 1,001st career match. The 23-time Grand Slam champion fired six aces and converted four of nine break points in the victory. She had zero double faults and claimed match point with an ace.

Williams will face Katerina Siniakova in the Round of 16 on Tuesday in Parma.

Her sister, Venus, lost in her second-round match Monday. Slovakian Anna Karolina Schmiedlova beat the elder Williams 5-7, 6-2, 6-2 in two hours, 39 minutes to advance to the third round.

Serena Williams’ last Grand Slam title came from the 2017 Australian Open. The four-year major title drought is her longest in nearly two decades.

Ranked No. 8, she the highest ranked player in the Emilia-Romagna Open women’s singles circuit.

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