Serena beaten in first official match

SERENA Williams lost her first official match since maternity leave as her and sister Venus were beaten in a doubles dead rubber by the Netherlands in the Fed Cup in Asheville, North Carolina yesterday.

Serena, who gave birth to her first child last September and had not played a competitive match since her triumph at the 2017 Australian Open, showed glimpses of her prowess and rust during the 6-2 6-3 loss to doubles specialist Demi Schuurs and world number 165 Lesley Kerkhove.

Among those in the sellout crowd for the World Group first round tie at the US Cellular Arena in Asheville eager to see Serena make her competitive return to tennis was the 36-year-old American’s daughter.

“It’s great. It’s her first match so I’m glad she got to see it,” Serena said in an on-court interview.

Early in the match Serena showed the effects of her lengthy layoff, perhaps most noticeably when she shanked a routine volley that left her bent over in embarrassment.

But shortly after, the owner on an Open-era record 23 grand slam singles titles drew wild cheers when she confidently stepped to the net and stretched out to drive home a superb backhand volley.

Despite the loss, it was a positive step for Serena, who was bedridden for six weeks from a series of complications, including a pulmonary embolism that led to multiple surgeries, after her daughter was delivered by emergency caesarean section.

More Stories