Hadn’t won in so long: Serena Williams earns first win of season in Toronto

Serena Williams hadn’t won in so long, she said she couldn’t even remember the feeling.

She picked up her first win since the 2021 French Open on Monday, beating Nuria Parrizas-Diaz 6-3, 6-4 at the Women’s National Bank Open.

I’m just happy to have won. It’s been a long time, I forgot what it felt like, Williams said.

It is only the second tournament of the season for Williams, 40, 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, who turns 41 at the end of September, will next face 12th-placed Belinda Bencic or Tereza Martincova.

Williams has won this tournament three times and reached the final in her last appearance at the hard-court event of 2019, losing to Bianca Andreescu when she was forced to retire due to injury.

But Williams has played little since and knows she needs time on the pitch.

I feel good, I felt like I competed well today. I think that’s what I had to do, it’s just compete, she said.

Mentally, I’m getting there. I’m not where I normally am (or) where I want to be. Every match I play, whether I win or lose, helps me.

I didn’t play much last year, (even) two years. I think it helps me physically. I feel a lot better in training, it’s just to bring that to the court. Literally, I’m the type of person (where) it takes one or two things and then it clicks.

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. Williams found his rhythm, mixing solid touch with his signature power and putting blow after blow out of Parrizas-Diaz’s reach.

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

Williams won the last three games to claim the first set, then took the lead in the second after 57th-ranked Parrizas-Diaz took a 4-3 lead. She endured a nine-two game to hold serve and even the set, then broke the next game before serving the win.

As Williams says the end of her remarkable career is in sight, she is enjoying her time and staying in the moment.

I’m getting closer to the light. Lately it’s over, I can’t wait to get to that light, she said, adding that the light represents freedom.

I love acting, it’s amazing, she added. “I can’t do this forever, so sometimes you just want to do your best to enjoy the moments and do the best you can.

(Only the title and image of this report may have been edited by Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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