Serena Williams, in her first official tournament after giving birth in September, debuted today at Indian Wells with a victory over Zarina Diyas 7-5, 6-3, while Spain’s Fernando Verdasco beat Argentina’s Guido Pella 6-6. 2, 1-6 and 6-2, in one hour and 29 minutes.
Williams, who disputed his first championship in 14 months, took a big dose of confidence against the world number 53 and will face the second round against Kiki Bartens, waiting to be able to measure his sister Venis in the next phase.
“It was amazing, it’s been over a year, I have a girl and now I can go home with her, so I’m excited (…) It’s not been easy, I’m a bit rusty, but it does not matter, this is my trip and I’m doing the best I can, “she said.
The Spanish Sara Sorribes was eliminated against the American Catherine Bellis, the youngest player in the Top 40, 6-0 and 6-3 in 65 minutes, a result that will match the 18-year-old player in the second round against the current champion, Elena Vesnina.
On the other hand, Lara Arruabarrena triumphed over Lesia Tsurenko, who had just won in Acapulco, and was called in the second round with Caroline Wozniacki.
In other encounters, the Olympic winner Mónica Puig, number 83 of the world, was remade after falling 4-0 in the second set and ended up beating the Brazilian Beatriz Haddad Maia by 6-3 and 7-6 (3) to be paired in second round to the twenty-first favorite Anastasija Sevastova.
Haddad Maia had not lost this year against any tennis player below the Top 40.
And Victoria Azarenka, winner in 2012 and 2016, beat the British Heather Watson 6-4 and 6-2 and will play against Sloane Stephens, number 13 in the world.
In the men’s field, Verdasco struggled to knock down Guido Pella of Argentina 6-2, 1-6, 6-2 in one set and in 29 minutes. The number 39 in the world broke his opponent twice in the decisive sleeve and only lost five points to serve in that third set.
The Madrileño will be measured in the second round to a powerful rival as Grigor Dimitrov.
Also, the Argentine Horacio Zeballos needed three sets to overcome the Japanese Yuichi Sugita by 6-7 (5), 6-4 and 7-6 (4), while his compatriot Nicolás Kicker defeated Jiri Vesely by 7-5 and 6-3 and Federico Delbonis did the same against local Ryan Harrison 6-2, 4-6 and 7-5.