Serena Williams makes winning return after 14 months away

Victoria Azarenka also made a winning return to competition

Serena Williams shook off the rust from a 15-month layoff due to pregnancy to win her opening match at the WTA Indian Wells event with a 7-5, 6-3 victory over Zarina Diyas.

"I don't know how I even won the [tournament], and I said I literally can't play the final", Williams said. It's been over a year and a kid later. I really missed her, but playing at night really helped because I know she goes to bed and she goes to sleep.

"It definitely wasn't easy but it was good".

Speaking about her comeback, she said: "It was incredible".

She blasted four aces and won 63 per cent of her first-serve points against Diyas, who claimed her first WTA title a year ago in Tokyo.

Serena Williams is back to playing professional tennis following her hiatus after giving birth to her daughter Alexis Olympia Ohanian Jr.in September past year.

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Ohanian bought four billboards along Interstate 10 outside Palm Springs in tribute to his wife. One of them has a photo of Williams and their daughter and carries the caption "G.M.O.A.T", denoting the phrase "greatest mother of all time". "Just holding her and the way my heart skips a beat".

"It is a journey for me and I am just going to go for it", she said.

Serena plays 29th seed Kiki Bertens in the second round, knowing that she could face sister Venus in the third round if both progress. She was facing child custody issues since last summer.

"I am never, ever going to take an advantage over someone else". "As little pressure as there seems to be, there is always pressure on the top guys". While encouraging fans to wear the pin when she plays to show their support, she stated, "I want this gold "S" mean something special to you personally".

Victoria Azarenka also made a winning return to the Indian Wells after a 6-4, 6-2 win over Heather Watson.

The Swiss won his sixth Australian Open crown and the Rotterdam Open, taking his career singles title tally to 97.

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